Generally speaking, it's important to include as much detail in your plans as possible when planning your estate. There are four estate planning documents that everyone should have, including a will, advance directives, power of attorney, and letter of instructions. Ensuring that all of these documents have been created and are up-to-date will guarantee that things are taken care of in the event of your passing and your loved ones are taken care of.
Below are the four estate planning documents to create.
- A Will
Anyone who cares about what happens to their assets in the event of their death should have a will made up. A will should say how you would like your assets and property distributed or divided, as well as the name of an executor for your estate and provide for payment of any costs during the settlement of your estate. Without a will, the state decides what happens to your assets.
- Advance Directives
These are documents include directions for your medical and end of life care, should you become incapacitated to voice these directions. These two documents that will help ensure your wishes are fulfilled are called a living will and medical powers of attorney.
- Power of Attorney
A financial power of attorney will be a designated person to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are incapable of doing so while you are still alive. Put simply, the financial power of attorney will be given the authority to make any financial decisions you would make yourself in you are incapacitated.
- Letters of Instructions
A letter of instructions is an informal document that discusses funeral wishes, financial details (a list of all of your accounts), and a plan for your personal property, as disagreements may arise when it comes up to dividing personal items such as jewelry, photos, and furniture.
Again, it's important to be as detailed as possible when creating these documents in order to reduce confusion and make it easier on your family in the event of your death. Be sure to contact a Ventura Probate Litigation Attorney in the event of an estate dispute or to help prevent one.