3 documents (other than wills) to add to your estate plan

On Behalf of | May 13, 2024 | Estate Planning

Adults who draft wills take control of their legacies. They can choose beneficiaries to inherit their property and can also put protections in place for dependent family members. Those who draft wills have already done more than the average adult.

However, they may not have proper protection for unusual personal circumstances. Many people choose to supplement a basic will with additional documents to better protect themselves and their loved ones from whatever may occur in life.

Living wills

People often talk about what might happen in the event of an emergency with their spouses or other close loved ones. When dealing with the stress of an unexpected medical incident, family members may have a hard time recalling the details of a conversation that could have occurred years ago. A living will gives someone an opportunity to leave very clear written instructions so that no one has to guess about their wishes in the event of an emergency. They can even name a health care surrogate to act on their behalf and clarify their expectations regarding anatomical gifts in their living will.

Financial powers of attorney

Having someone to address medical issues in the event of an emergency is beneficial, but people may require more support than that if their health challenges last for more than a day or two. Being unconscious or incapable of communicating means that someone cannot pay their bills and handle their financial obligations. Financial powers of attorney can designate a trusted person to act as an agent when someone’s health changes. Powers of attorney can help ensure that someone who experiences an emergency doesn’t also experience financial hardship after they recover medically.

A trust

People in a variety of different scenarios might benefit from adding a trust to their estate plans. Someone with young children could use a trust to protect assets for their children so that a guardian doesn’t have control over their inheritance. Someone with adult children could use a trust to ensure their children don’t misuse inherited resources or lose them if they divorce. Trust can protect high-income individuals from estate taxes or help middle-class adults qualify for Medicaid benefits.

Adding a variety of different documents to an estate plan helps to ensure that someone has the support and protection they require when life circumstances change. Adults who think about their long-term needs as they age can potentially recognize the benefit of adding a variety of different documents to their Kentucky estate plans.