Oklahoma residents understand the value of estate planning. An estate plan is a wonderful tool to ensure a person's assets are transferred to the next generation in the person's desired manner. It can also be used to communicate a person's health care wishes. Although many may think estate planning is only for the wealthy, there are five documents almost everyone needs.
Regardless of the amount of a person's assets or the person's age, one important document everyone needs is a durable power of attorney. This document authorizes another person to act on their behalf if they become in capacitated. Advanced medical directives are also important. They dictate medical treatments that a person wants if they are not able to communicate their wishes. Advanced medical directives include a living will, power of attorney for health care and a Do Not Resuscitate order. A person should also consider having a will drafted. This document can list out where a person's assets should go if they pass away and can also list an estate executor and a guardian for the children. A person may also want to draft a letter of instruction. This is a non-legal document that communicates a person's thoughts and directions. Finally, a living trust may be created in order for a family to avoid probate.
A legal professional who is skilled in estate planning understands how the process works. They can help their client create an estate plan that works for their own unique situation, taking advantage of tax strategies and other tactics. An attorney is a valuable resource for those who need to create an estate plan or who need help updating their existing estate plan.
Having important estate planning documents created can save a family from a lot of stress and anxiety if the unthinkable occurs. Although no one wants to think about their inevitable death or incapacitation, planning ahead is a good idea.
Source: Forbes, "5 documents you need to avoid costly estate planning errors", Peter Lazaroff, Oct. 16, 2016