Most people think that an estate plan is your will, that they are synonymous; they are not. The will itself is not the only document that should be in your estate plan! Life may have other plans for you, so you should also consider having the following.

Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA)

This document lets you to name a person to manage your financial affairs if you become unable to do so. Without one, a friend or family member would have to bring a guardianship proceeding in court. It helps ensure that the court appoints as guardian the same person you have decided to entrust with your affairs in the unlikely event that a court decides that you need a guardian. Find out more about them here.

Advance Medical Directives

Advance medical directives include a medical durable power of attorney (MDPOA) and a living will. With the former, you appoint a person to make health care decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself. With the latter, you can explain what type of care you would like at the end of your life. Your living will provides a guide for the person appointed to make health care decisions in your MDPOA. Find out more about them here.

Additional Documents for More Complex Estates

Additional documents may be necessary depending on the complexity of your estate and your estate planning goals. For example, wealthy individuals and couples may want to establish and fund certain types of irrevocable trusts while they are alive to minimize or eliminate estate and gift taxes while benefitting their children, grandchildren, or charities.

So What Should I Do?

I recommend that everyone have an estate plan. If you want more information about them, what documents are included, and things you need to think about to prepare them, then I recommend that you download my free book, A Guide to Creating Your Estate Plan. It will get you a long way towards achieving that goal.

But if you live in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, or Cumberland counties, have decided that you need to put together an estate plan, and are ready to move forward to create one, then just click here to schedule a free, no obligation phone call to discuss it.

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Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.