If you don’t have documents that protect you, your family and your assets, you should consider doing yourself a favor and putting them on your list to accomplish in 2019, according to Fox Business in “3 financial documents everyone needs”
A Will. The essential function of a will is to ensure that your wishes are carried out when you are no longer alive. It’s not just for rich people. Everyone should have a will. It can include everything from your financial assets to life insurance, family heirlooms, artwork and any real estate property.
A will can also be used to protect your business, provide for charities and ensure lifelong care for your pets.
If you have children, a will is especially important. Your will is used to name a guardian for your minor children. Otherwise, the state will decide who should rear your children.
Your will is also used to name your executor. That is the person who has the legal responsibility for making sure your financial obligations are honored. Without an executor, the state will appoint a person to handle those tasks.
An Advanced Medical Directive – a Health Care Proxy. What would happen if you became ill or injured and could not make medical decisions for yourself? A health care proxy lets you assign the people you want to make health care decisions on your behalf, if you are unable to do so for yourself. As long as you have legal capacity, the health care proxy is not used, but once needed, you and your family will be glad it is in place.
A Durable Power of Attorney. This document is used to name someone who will make financial decisions if you are not able to do so. Be careful to name a person you trust implicitly to make good decisions on your behalf. That may be a family member, an adult child or an attorney.
Once you’ve had these documents prepared as part of your estate plan, you’re not done. These documents need to be reviewed and updated every now and then. Life changes, laws change, and what was a great tax strategy at one point for example, may not be effective if there’s a change to the law five years later. Your estate planning attorney will help create and update your estate plan.
Reference: Fox Business (Dec. 19, 2018) “3 financial documents everyone needs”