6 Must Have Estate Planning Documents

Jan 30, 2023

6 Must Have Estate Planning Documents you need: 

1) Estate plan questionnaire

Estate planning involves thinking about our mortality and heavy questions that we often avoid. Depending on the number of assets and beneficiaries you have, thinking about these questions may take some time and thought. We often advise clients complete an estate plan questionnaire that helps them answer these questions. An Estate Plan Questionnaire is a way to gather your information in one place and make it easier for your attorney to build your will. As with any project, we often need to picture the end result at the beginning and this document helps you get there.

2) Last Will and Testament

Your will answers 3 main questions: who gets your stuff, who is in charge of carrying out your wishes, and, if you have minor kids, who will take care of them.

When considering who gets your property, think about both “tangible” and “intangible property.” Electronics, houses, and cars are examples of tangible property, and stocks or cryptocurrencies are examples of intangible property.

The executor of your estate is in charge of making sure your wishes are carried out according to your will. The executor is the person who reviews your will and ensures that it is carried out as it was written to ensure that all of your wishes are exacted. A well-drafted will always contains a primary and backup executor.

Finally, if you have minor children, your will can designate a legal guardian or guardians who will take care of them until they are adults in the event that something happens to you.

3) Health care power of attorney

A power of attorney (POA) for health care appoints someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself. This POA can make decisions over anything related to your health when you’re incapacitated and can’t make them yourself. A POA might have the power to make decisions about organ donation, hospitalization, nursing home treatment, home health care, psychiatric care and more. Keep in mind that this POA for healthcare may be used for end-of-life decisions but also for any medical situation that may arise before then.

4) Financial power of attorney

This type of POA governs financial matters much like in the health care POA governs health decisions, but the POA will have the power to make decisions and act on your behalf regarding your finances. This can be used to pay bills, settle any debts, or to resolve other financial situations that may arise when you cannot perform them yourself. When choosing this POA, you will want to think long and hard about who you trust to act in your best interest should something happen to you.

5) Disposition of personal property

In this part of your estate plan, you can identify specific items that you want certain people to have after you’re gone. If you are leaving everything to one or two people, you may not need to add this section, but if you know you want, for example, your favorite niece to have your diamond necklace, or your sister to have your furniture, a disposition of personal property is how you would accomplish the goal.

6) Disposition of final remains

In this document you get to tell your family and friends exactly how you want your remains to be handled after you pass. It can be as general as saying you want to be cremated and scattered at your favorite place, or it can be as specific as detailing cemetery plots you have purchased along with arrangements you have already made.

Do you have a will? If not, and you are looking to start your estate plan, call Community Law Office at (319) 200-7050 now! 

We offer free consultations and love to help our clients manage their individual situations to determine what estate planning tools are best! Reach out via our website, www.CommunityLawOffice.com, or phone, (319) 200-7050, to talk with one of our estate planning attorneys today!