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Important estate planning documents

Estate planning often requires the execution of multiple documents so that individuals can rest assured that their affairs will be handled according to their wishes. During the estate planning process, individuals may also make health decisions in case a person is not competent to make medical decisions if a health issue arises. Residents of Arizona and other states should know about several important estate planning documents.

Wills

A will is a document that distributes assets after death according to the wishes of a testator. This document also appoints an individual who will oversee the estate and ensure that beneficiaries receive the assets to which they are entitled. In some circumstances, wills may also express wishes regarding guardianships and other legal matters. Everyone should consult with an estate planning attorney to draft this foundational estate planning document.

Power of attorney documents

A power of attorney grants another person the power to manage one’s affairs in a variety of circumstances. Powers of attorney can be granted so that an individual has the power to manage the financial and personal affairs of another if they are no longer able to do so themselves. It is important to only grant a power of attorney to a trusted individual because this person may have considerable influence over financial and personal matters.

Advance directives for health care

An advance directive for health care, also called a living will, designates people to serve as a proxy should the person executing the document no longer be able to make competent medical decisions. Moreover, this document also specifies which medical treatments an individual wishes to have in certain circumstances. It is important that individuals speak with physicians if necessary so that they make informed health decisions.

Trust documents

A trust is a device that is used when someone wishes to devote money to help beneficiaries. In certain circumstances, trusts can be used to reduce taxes and protect money from creditors. An experienced estate planning lawyer may explain all of the situations when trusts should be part of an estate plan.

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