Every so often it’s helpful to sit down and review your existing estate planning documents. Ideally you will have stored a copy of these with your estate planning lawyer and also have copies for yourself. Regular review of your existing estate plans can help you to determine when you need to incorporate additional planning goals.
The five key documents that should at least be considered in your conversation with an experienced estate planning lawyer include a durable power of attorney, a will, an advanced medical directive, a letter of instruction, and a living revocable trust.
A durable power of attorney assists you if you become mentally or physically incompetent to handle financial matters. A will is a desirable cornerstone of your estate plan if you are over age 18. Advanced medical directives give instructions about medical treatment you would want if you are unable to speak for yourself and a letter of instruction as a non-legal and informal document that is used to express your preferences and thoughts in conjunction with other estate planning tools. Finally, a revocable living trust could be something you discuss with your estate planning lawyer.
Once you become incompetent, pass away, or resign, a successor trustee will be there to administer aspects of the trust. Schedule a consultation with an attorney today so that you can learn whether or not these estate planning documents are necessary for you.