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3 critical documents for a solid estate plan

Like many people in Arizona, you no doubt often think of the future, perhaps, even a time when you will no longer be here with your loved ones. You understand that every person’s life must come to an end, and you want to be as prepared as possible so that your children or grandchildren will not encounter legal complications regarding your estate. If you have determined that the time has come to execute an estate plan, there are several important documents you will want to consider adding to your portfolio.

One of the benefits of estate planning is the ability to personalize and customize your plan as you see fit. You can also make changes to your plan as time passes, provided you are of sound mind and the document in question is allowed to be amended. Thoroughly exploring all options ahead of time can help you determine which documents you need most.

A solid estate plan always includes a last will and testament

You may have read stories of celebrities or other wealthy people who have died without executing a last will and testament. This often sparks legal issues among family members, which require litigation to resolve. Things can get rather messy in court when a decedent did not have a will in place.

Issues you can address in a will, including appointing a guardian for minor children, designating beneficiaries to inherit certain assets, as well as choosing an executor to represent your estate.

It is often helpful to create a living trust in an estate plan

You might want to leave a major asset, such as your home, to a particular beneficiary, when you die. If you wish to keep such assets from being subject to probate proceedings, you can create a living trust as part of your estate plan. One of the benefits of a living trust is that you still control the asset while you are alive.

Upon your death, however, the trustee in charge of managing the trust will transfer the asset to the beneficiary you have named in your estate plan. Assets placed in a living trust are legally separate from the rest of your estate. Establishing a trust is also often a way to help loved ones avoid substantial estate taxes.

You can sign multiple documents for power of attorney

When you grant someone power of attorney, you are enabling them to act on your behalf in a specific capacity. There are several types of power of attorney, which you may incorporate as documents in your estate plan. For instance, you may wish to grant someone you trust with authority to make health decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.

You might also want to appoint someone to manage your finances under similar circumstances. It is possible to have more than one power of attorney document in your estate plan.

Execute a plan to fit your needs

By discussing your goals and final wishes with someone who is well-versed in estate planning issues, you can create a solid plan that protects your assets and minimizes probate-related stress for your loved ones.

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