Which estate planning documents are important?

There are several types of documents that can be used for end-of-life planning. Because of this, it can often be confusing to some to choose which ones they actually need. In Washington, as in other states, estate planning is an important undertaking. Knowing which documents are needed can make it much easier.

One of the first and most important documents needed to plan for the future of an estate is the will. This document helps notify the court, and everyone else, where a person wants his or her possessions and property to go when he or she dies. In most states, without a will, the state government decides how the property will be split up.

Another vital document is the power of attorney. The person who is granted power of attorney can make financial decisions, handle the mail, and take care of utilities and other bills for someone who has become unable to do so. A person with power of attorney has the same control over a person’s finances as the person has.

The last three documents are all health-related. These include the health care proxy, living will and HIPAA release. The health care proxy is basically like a medical power of attorney. The person appointed can make medical decisions for the one who is unable to do so. A living will is a guide to how a patient wants his or her health care to be administered.

While there are other documents available for those in Washington and other states, these five are important for those who are beginning. An experienced estate planning attorney can help their client choose which documents are right for his or her situation and needs. Anyone who is creating an end-of-life plan could benefit from contacting an estate planning lawyer.

Source: mytwintiers.com, “Money Smart Week: The Five Documents You Need When Estate Planning“, Michelle Ross, April 24, 2017

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