It Takes More Than A Will: 4 Items You Need To Include With Your Estate Plan

Law Blog

If you have a well-drafted will, you might think that your estate planning is complete, and that everything is now properly in place should you pass away. Unfortunately, that type of thinking could get you, and your family, in trouble. Your will is an extremely important part of your estate plan. However, it's not the only part of your estate plan. In fact, for your estate plan to be complete, you actually need several other documents to go with your will. These additional documents will ensure that your estate is properly planned, and that you, and your family, are protected. Now that you have your will, here are four additional documents you'll need to have an estate planning attorney help you with.

Durable Power of Attorney

When it comes to your estate plan, your will determines how your property is divided once you pass away. However, it doesn't determine how your finances are taken care of, should you become incapacitated prior to your passing. If your passing is delayed, you're going to need someone to take over the handling of your finances. That's where your durable power of attorney comes in to play. With a durable power of attorney, you designate someone to pay your bills, handle your bank accounts, and take care of all the other financial decisions that you won't be able to make.

Medical Power of Attorney

If you linger in a hospital prior to passing, and you didn't designate a medical power of attorney, your family will be left to make those decisions for you. Unfortunately, that can add undo heartache to loved ones who are dealing with your eminent passing. Having a power of attorney for medical decisions in place will ensure that your wishes for your medical care are followed, but also that your loved ones don't need to deal with those decisions.

Disposition of Personal Property Form

If you want to make sure that everyone you know gets something after you pass away, you're going to need a form for the disposition of your personal property. That's a form that spells out exactly how you want your personal belongings to be divided. Having this form with your estate plan will ensure that loved ones don't resort to bickering to get the things they want. The form allows for concise instructions for all of your belongings.

Disposition of Final Remains Form

If you want to make sure that your funeral wishes are followed after you pass away, you'll want to have your attorney draw up a disposition of final remains. The disposition of final remains allows you to specify how you want to be buried, or even if you want to be buried. If you'd prefer to be cremated, and have your ashes buried on a mountain top, you can specify that in your disposition of final remains; although you'll need to have your attorney find out if that's legal in your state.

Now that you're planning your estate, don't stop with your last will and testament. Talk to an estate planning attorney about adding all the documents you'll need to ensure a complete plan for you and your family. Visit a site like for more help.


3 September 2017

Dealing with Estate Planning When You're Single

Too many single people assume they don't need to plan their estate. My brother fell into this category, and his unexpected passing left our entire family struggling to deal with his home, belongings, and financial accounts. It took nearly three years for the courts to set up a deal because he left no paperwork detailing how he wanted his estate divided. The situation immediately convinced me to work on my own estate, even though I'm still in my early 30's and don't have children or a spouse to worry about. Since it's a little harder to pick beneficiaries and estate managers when you're single, I collected the resources I used for making my own decisions and decided to publish them here on my blog. Use these resources before talking to an estate planning attorney so you're prepared for making hard decisions.