Two Essential Estate Planning Documents You Really Need
You need two things in place to properly establish an estate plan: (1) a set of “fiduciary” documents; and (2) a device like a Will or Trust.
Estate planning is a process that involves deciding who should receive your assets and manage your estate when you are incapacitated or after your demise. You need to know what essential estate planning documents are needed to cover the basics. You should also be familiar with the purpose and function of each of these essential estate planning documents.
At the bottom, there are two sets of estate planning documents needed for an estate plan.
- You need an estate planning device, whether a Will or a Trust. You don’t need both.
- You need a set of “fiduciary” documents. GeauxPlans has you covered for all of these as we will explain below.
Essential estate planning documents needed for an estate plan should include either a Will or a Trust
Every estate plan must include a device that will convey ownership of assets to intended beneficiaries. Either a Will or a Trust will serve this purpose. A Will and a Trust are both necessary legal documents for estate planning, but you don’t need both. You need one or the other.
A Will or a Trust accomplish serve the same purpose of conveying assets to loved ones, but through different mechanisms. A Will is basically a gift that takes place at death and requires probate. A Trust is generally created during life and avoids probate. To learn more about a Will or a Trust, you can follow the buttons below.
Necessary documents for estate planning must also include a set of “fiduciary” documents
It is not enough to just have a Will or a Trust. You also need a set of “Fiduciary Documents.” A Fiduciary Document is a legal document that appoints someone you trust to legally stand in your shoes to make legal, financial, and medical decisions. The person you appoint will owe you “fiduciary duties,” including a duty of care (to manage your assets prudently) and a duty of loyalty (to act in your best interest at all times).
These fiduciary documents become critically important in the event of your incapacity. Incapacity may result from:
- Medical conditions
- Degenerative diseases
- Anything that can prevent you from acting on your own behalf, whether temporarily or permanently.
These essential Fiduciary Documents include the following:
Durable Financial Power of Attorney
Appoint someone you know and trust to manage assets and make financial decisions for you if you become incapacitated or are unavailable.
Durable Medical Power of Attorney
Appoint someone you know and trust to make medical decisions for you if you become incapaciated or are unavailable.
Advance Healthcare Directive (a/k/a Living Will)
State your wishes in advance regarding what types of medical life support measures you prefer if cannot express your preferences yourself.
Authorize someone to access your Protected Health Information for quick assistance or decisions if you become incapaciated.
These fiduciary documents terminate with life and become legally ineffective upon death.
What documents are needed for estate planning will depend on your unique goals and circumstances
Just like fingerprints, no two people are exactly alike. Your estate plan should reflect your unique goals and circumstances.
GeauxPlans contains all the essential estate planning documents needed to create a customized estate plan online. Our world-class Support Team stands ready to assist at every step of the way. You can even request a guided design session.
All essential estate planning documents you need are right here
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Power of Attorney Plan
Create durable powers of attorney and other important documents for your college student, an aging parent, or any other person you need to assist if something happens.
Average time to build a plan: 5 minutes
Minor Child-Centered Estate Plan
Create a will-based plan to appoint a Tutor for a minor child to act as a surrogate parent for you if something should ever happen to you.
Average time to build a plan: 15 minutes
Will-Based Estate Plan
The Will-Based Estate Plan includes a Last Will and Testament, Financial Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, as well as an Advanced Healthcare Directive (a/k/a “Living Will”).
Average time to build a plan: 15 minutes
Trust-Based Estate Plan
The Trust-Based Estate Plan includes a Revocable Living Trust, a Pourover Last Will, and Testament, Financial Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, as well as an Advanced Healthcare
Average time to build a plan: 20 minutes
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