Everyone over the age of 18 should have at least a basic Last Will and Testament in place. If you are finally considering executing a Will yourself you may also be wondering “ Are there other documents that should be prepared when preparing a Will? ” Because of the individual nature of an estate plan, only an experienced Missouri estate planning attorney can provide you with advice regarding which additional documents you should prepare for your plan; however, in most cases there are additional documents that should be prepared when you execute your Will.
A Last Will and Testament serves three primary functions. First, it allows you to appoint an Executor who will be responsible for overseeing the probate of your estate. Second, it allows you to make specific or general bequests that will determine what happens to your estate assets when you die. Finally, if you have minor children your Will affords you the only opportunity you will have to nominate a guardian for your children should one be needed at some future point in time. While your Will does accomplish the most basic of estate planning functions, you will likely have additional estate planning goals and objectives that requires additional documents to achieve.
Each estate plan is as unique as the individual creating the plan; however, there are some common additions to the average plan, including:
Power of attorney – this can be used to give another person (your “Agent”) the authority to act on your behalf in legal matters.
Advance directive – used to accomplish two goals. One is to express your wishes with regard to end of life medical care while the second is to appoint an Agent to make decisions for you should you be unable to make them for yourself because of incapacity.
Trust – trusts come in many forms and can be used to provide things such as asset protection, continued control over estate assets, pet planning, special needs planning, Medicaid planning, and incapacity planning.
Funeral plan – this allows you to express your wishes with regard to your funeral and burial in the event of your death. You may also provide the funding for your funeral expenses so your loved ones do not have to worry about coming up with money right after your death.
Letter of instructions – a simple letter that includes information or provides explanations for estate planning issues not found elsewhere in your plan.
If you have additional questions or concerns about estate planning contact the experienced Missouri estate planning attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC by calling (314) 966-8077 to schedule an appointment.
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