A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for estate planning, but some of the most commonly used strategies and documents can help give you some peace of mind that you have taken the necessary steps to protect yourself. These include a financial power of attorney, a last will and testament, a living trust, and a health care surrogate.
A financial power of attorney is a formal legal document that enables somebody else to conduct your financial affairs, such as making deposits, paying bills, or selling or purchasing assets if you become incapacitated and are unable to do so yourself.
Your last will and testament is the cornerstone of any modern estate plan that helps you to appoint an executor to manage the administration of your estate, names a guardian to take care of your minor children, and determines how you want your assets distributed. A living trust enables your heirs to receive assets without going through the time-consuming and expensive process of probate to distribute your estate.
Finally, a health care surrogate which might also be referred to as a health care power of attorney or a health care proxy is a crucial document to name another party who is appointed to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
Your surrogate has important responsibilities, such as managing your medical care, making medical decisions if you can’t speak for yourself, and the authority to speak to your doctors.
As you can see, having all of these different estate planning documents in place can make things easier for your loved ones and ensure that you have thought through the most important details of your estate plan. Consider a conversation with an estate planning attorney in Pasadena, CA as the first step towards accomplishing these goals.