When you are working on your estate plan, you may realize that there are many ways to protect your assets and those you care about. With so many legal options, it can feel confusing and hard to know which documents you do or don’t need.
There are several documents that are considered the most essential and basic protections in an estate plan. These include your basic will, a living will and your power of attorney designations. Completing just these three documents is a great start toward protecting yourself and those you care about.
- A will
Your will is necessary to prevent your estate from being distributed in accordance with Florida’s established distribution method. It allows you to detail out how you’d like your assets to be distributed to your loved ones or friends. You may also help your family avoid probate by establishing a will.
- A living will
Your living will provides information on the kinds of life-extending care you’d like if you are facing a life-threatening illness or injury. For example, if you have terminal cancer, you may create a living will to state if you would or would not like life support during your final moments.
A living will keeps you in control of your major medical decisions rather than leaving them to your family.
- Powers of attorney
Powers of attorney let you designate your own agent to make financial or medical decisions for you. The health care power of attorney handles medical issues when you are incapacitated and unable to do so yourself. A financial or durable power of attorney handles your financial affairs.
While these three documents aren’t the only kinds of estate planning documents available, they do cover a wide range of issues and concerns. You may want to consider adding these and then expanding further with tools like revocable or irrevocable trusts, too.
To protect yourself and those you care about, starting your estate plan with solid basic legal protections is the key. You can always adjust these documents or add additional protections to your estate plan as your life changes over time.