As you make financial preparations for the future, you’ll ultimately have some paperwork to do. Both retirement planning and estate planning require you to complete some key documents. Once completed, these documents will need to be kept well-organized and in a safe space.
But what documents are most crucial? If you’re just beginning to think seriously about retirement and estate planning, there are a few basics we’d highly recommend. We’ll list them below, but if you have specific inquiries, we welcome you to give Singh Law Firm a call. We’re always happy to discuss particular estate planning needs.
Assemble These Documents as You Form Your Estate Plan
This is ground zero for estate planning. Simply put, your will is the legal document wherein you outline your wishes for how you’d like your assets to be distributed following your death. It’s also where you can express your wishes for who should receive guardianship of your minor children, should both you and your co-parent die. Simply having a will is generally not sufficient for smart estate planning; with that said, a will is certainly essential, and marks a good starting point for your estate planning efforts.
Power of Attorney
What happens if you are injured in a way that leaves you medically incapacitated? A power of attorney is the document wherein you assign legal responsibility to a family member or a close friend, appointing that person to be your legal representative in financial, business, and legal matters. This person will carry out your wishes, to the best of their ability, if you are mentally unfit to do so.
The living will is the document wherein you express your end-of-life wishes; for example, you can note if and when you’d like to be removed from feeding tubes and breathing machines. The living will outlines your wishes for end-of-life care, and may also be used to appoint an individual to make healthcare decisions for you, should you become incapacitated.
In addition to these legal forms, we’d also recommend assembling an informal informational document, where you can provide some key, practical information for your heirs. For example, you might use this document to list all your online accounts, along with their usernames and passwords, and also explain where your key financial documents are kept. This is not a legally binding document, but can be an important resource for those seeking to execute your estate.
What to Do with Your Documents
This is only a partial list, and to get a better idea of which documents you need for your estate planning needs, we recommend meeting with an attorney. Your lawyer will be able to ensure you’ve selected the right forms; help you fill them out with maximum legal clarity; and also provide you some options for keeping those documents in a safe environment.
This is a key consideration: Your legal documents don’t mean much if your heirs and estate executors cannot find them. There are a number of good options for safeguarding your documents, including cloud storage platforms as well as simple, fireproof cabinets you can have at home. You may also be able to store your documents at your estate planning attorney’s office. One thing we don’t recommend is using a bank safety deposit box, as it may be very challenging for your heirs to get the legal authority they need to access the box.
With any further questions about putting together your estate planning documents, please reach out to Singh Law Firm today, and schedule a consultation with one of our legal professionals.