A surprising number of people have not done any estate planning. Perhaps this is because estate planning has become so much more complicated in recent years. Perhaps because many people are uncomfortable talking about their own mortality. Thorough estate planning includes medical and financial decisions before the end of life, as well as after death.
Here are the documents that will be used in most estate plans today.
|Document||What it does|
|Will||Identifies beneficiaries. May establish one or more trusts for ongoing asset management. Nominates the person or organization to be responsible for estate settlement.|
|Power of attorney||Delegates authority to an agent to make financial decisions. The agent’s authority ends when the principal is incapacitated.|
|Durable power of attorney||Delegates financial decision power to an agent, even if the principal is incapacitated. In some cases, the power “springs” into being upon incapacity or other identified event. Powers cease at the death of the principal.|
|Revocable living trust||Transfers assets and full financial management authority to a trustee. The trust may continue into incapacity, even beyond the death of the trustor.|
|Power of attorney for health care (sometimes called a health care proxy)||Identifies an individual to make medical decisions when one is unconscious or incapacitated.|
|Living will||Provides guidelines for medical decisions when an individual becomes terminally ill, such as whether feeding tubes or ventilators should be used to prolong life.|
|Do not resuscitate order (DNR)||Specifically requests that cardiopulmonary resuscitation not be used if one’s heart or breathing stops.|
Source: Merrill Anderson Company
© 2020 M.A. Co. All rights reserved.
Any developments occurring after February 1, 2020, are not reflected in this article.
Provided in partnership with The Trust team at CoreFirst Bank & Trust.