5 Key Documents In An Estate Plan
To do a job right, you need the proper tools. And while each and every estate plan is unique, these five documents are often integral elements:
1. Financial power of attorney. This document authorizes an "attorney-in-fact" to act on your behalf in financial matters. The most common power of attorney, a "durable" one, remains in effect if you're incapacitated. Another variation, which is known as a "springing" power of attorney, transfers control to the designated person only if you're incapacitated.
2. Health-care power of attorney. This also authorizes another person to make decisions on your behalf if you're unable to do so—in this case, involving medical care, carrying out your end-of-life wishes, and related matters. Here, the attorney-in-fact is typically your spouse, a child, or a sibling. Like a financial power of attorney, it may be broad or limited and expires at your death.
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