There are many ways you can benefit from the basic estate planning documents. A proper estate plan allows you to distribute your assets in accordance with your wishes and can prevent misunderstandings and disputes about your intentions. In addition, you are able to select who will be responsible for overseeing your estate administration in probate.
While most people know that a last will and testament is the best way to distribute their estates after you’re gone, parents of minor children can also use their wills to designate their guardian in the event of a catastrophic accident or a conservator for management of a minor’s assets.
You can avoid the need for a guardian and/or a conservator for yourself through the use of medical and financial powers of attorney. These instruments name trusted persons to manage your health care decisions and financial affairs if you become unable to express your own preferences through illness or injury.
The fourth basic instrument is an advance directive to physicians, also known as a living will. This expresses in clear terms the circumstances under which life support should be terminated in case of terminal illness, persistent coma or other extreme medical conditions, thereby removing a difficult burden from your loved ones by clearly stating your medical choices.
* CV, BV, and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties, Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards, and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell Ratings evaluate two categories–legal ability and general ethical standards.