Things can get confusing when you start to think about estate planning. There are many legal documents you might or might not need or want to use. However, there are three documents that every estate plan should have.
Advanced Medical Directive
Some people call this a living will or a health care directive. You can use this to make clear your wishes about what happens if you are hospitalized and unable to make your wishes known. You can state what treatments you are not happy to receive due to personal or religious reasons. You can also name someone to make health care decisions on your behalf.
Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney authorizes someone else to make legal or financial decisions on your behalf when you cannot. Failing to provide this could leave your family struggling to carry out transactions or access money if you are incapacitated after an accident or illness. Just because you are married to someone does not mean they can access all the assets you own between you.
Last Will and Testament
Unlike the other two documents, your will only comes into play once you die. However, by creating one and keeping it up to date, you can make life a lot easier for your family. It allows you to pass your property onto the people you wish in the manner you want to. If you die without a will, a court will distribute your assets according to New Jersey intestate laws. It is far better to make these decisions yourself when you are alive.
These three legal documents are vital to any estate plan. To be effective, you should draw them up with the help of an experienced attorney. This can ensure they are correctly written and correctly registered.