What Should Be Included In Your Estate Planning Package?

Posted on: 18 October 2017

When you think of estate planning, most people think of a will. However, while a will that lists what your assets are and how they will be distributed when you pass away is one of the documents in an estate planning package, it is not the only document. Here are a few of the other documents that should be completed when you are doing estate planning. 

Power of Attorney

When you are doing estate planning a power of attorney should be included in your planning package. There are two different types of power of attorneys that you may need to designate. The first is a healthcare power of attorney. This individual can make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them for yourself. The second is a durable power of attorney, also known as a financial power of attorney. If you become unable to handle your financial affairs yourself, this individual can make financial decisions on your behalf. This may include selling off assets to pay your medical bills or using your accounts to pay down your normal day-to-day expenses. 

Beneficiary Designations

Another key form to ensure you include when doing estate planning is your beneficiary designations. Many items, including your life insurance policy and your retirement account can be given to someone in the event of your death. However, this person needs to be named in a beneficiary designation form. If this form is not filled out, the money may go directly to the estate, where it will be divided up among those named in your estate. If you want the money to go to specific individuals, you need to fill out your beneficiary designation forms. 

Guardianship Paperwork

Lastly, if you have children under the age of 18, make sure you include guardianship paperwork. This may include designations about who you want to have custody of your children and any necessary forms that need to be filled out based on the state you reside in in order to help make the process easier and stream lined. If you do not name a guardian for your child or children, your family may fight over who the child should live with and why. Planning it out ahead of time helps to ensure there are no fights and your child is not caught in the middle. 

Estate planning is an important part of life. You want to ensure your spouse, children or family members get the assets that you intend to give them without any fighting or court interventions needed. If you are looking for guidance on estate planning, contact an estate lawyer, such as from Lynn Jackson Shultz & Lebrun PC. They can help you ensure that you have filled out all of the forms correctly and that everything is addressed. This can help to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible once you have passed.