You likely have a lot of concerns about what will happen to your personal property, bank accounts, and investments when you pass away. To ensure that your family is taken care of and your assets are distributed according to your desired terms, you need to complete estate planning.
Estate planning is a great way to make sure your family’s affairs are in order. Most people have a general idea of what estate planning is, but they may not know the process that must be followed to ensure their wishes are carried out. There are many important legal documents you need to ensure that things go as planned.
This post will cover 6 of the most critical documents you need to complete estate planning.
Financial Power of Attorney (POA)
The financial POA is perhaps the most crucial document you’ll need to complete estate planning. A power of attorney (also referred to as an “attorney-in-fact” or a “proxy”) gives another individual legal authority over your financial affairs, allowing them to make purchases on your behalf and manage your investments. There are two types of financial POA: a limited power of attorney and general power of attorney.
The limited power is only valid for specific purposes outlined in the document itself. A general power grants broad legal authority over your finances to an individual or organization (such as a bank or trust company).
If you pass away suddenly, your family needs to know what types of arrangements you would like. If a loved one has passed and no plans have been made yet, this can cause additional stress on surviving relatives. To ease this burden quickly, create a document with your funeral instructions so your survivors will always know your wishes.
Digital Logins and Passwords
In today’s digital world, online accounts and passwords are essential to managing many aspects of your life. It can be difficult for family members or executors if you pass away without sharing the login information with them. This makes it impossible to access your bank account, investment portfolio, social media profiles (for example, Facebook), email addresses, and other apps.
To prevent this from happening, write down all of your passwords and login information in a document.
Titles and Property Deeds
If you own any property titles or deeds, it’s crucial to have a record of them. In addition to your homes and vehicles, consider other properties such as boats, RVs, campers/trailers, recreational vehicles (RVs), all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), motorcycles, and horses.
Proof of Identity Documents
In many states, a death certificate is required to claim inheritances and transfer property. Suppose your loved ones cannot locate the copies of essential documents such as birth certificates or driver’s license prior to you passing away. In that case, they may not be able to settle your affairs in an efficient manner. To avoid any issues with this process, it’s wise to keep copies of your birth certificate, identification cards (like a driver’s license), social security card, and passport together in one place.
Last Will and Testament
The last will and testament is perhaps the most crucial estate planning document to have. It states your wishes for what you want to be done with your property after death, as well as any specific requests related to funeral arrangements. Your living trust attorney can help you draft a solid one that covers all of your bases so there are no questions or uncertainties about how things will be handled.
The Bottom Line
There are many important legal documents you need to ensure that things go as planned. A legal aid family law attorney can help you narrow down the vital documents to complete your estate planning.