It’s fun to make a bucket list of all the exciting things you want to accomplish before you die. Personally, I want to travel overseas.
You also need to have a legal bucket list of documents that must be signed now — before life’s inevitable curveballs come your way.
What You Need
Everyone should have the following Core Four documents in place before a health crisis happens: a Last Will and Testament, Financial Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will Declaration. Let’s review each of those documents.
A will is a written document formally signed in which you describe how your assets should be distributed at death and who will be in charge of your estate. Your will directs what happens with your probate assets, which are assets in your sole name alone. A will simplifies the probate process and gives authority to the executor to handle legal issues. Without a will, the probate process is more complicated and costly.
Most people want to avoid probate. Solely owned assets have to be probated because there is no beneficiary connected to the asset. For example, if your assets listed as joint and survivorship, Payable on Death or Transfer on Death are in a Trust Agreement or name a beneficiary, your assets won’t have to go through probate and will go the people named to receive them. If assets are titled correctly to avoid probate, then you don’t have to use a will, but it’s still a good idea to have a will just in case of a snag.
The Financial Durable Power of Attorney is vital because it names the person who will oversee your financial matters if you become mentally or physically unable to take care of them yourself. Many people think that spouses don’t need to have these for each other because they are married, but that is not true....