Many Alabama residents avoid the estate planning process because they might think that there are simply too many options to contemplate, therefore making the process overly complicated. However, that isn’t true in most cases. For most of our readers, some of the basic estate planning documents will likely be enough to fit their needs. So, what do our readers need to know about estate planning basics?
COMMON ESTATE PLAN DOCUMENTS
For starters, it is important to understand that a comprehensive estate plan will include more than just a will that dictates the distribution of assets after your death – although a will is probably the most common estate planning document. The fact is that other documents will likely be included in your estate plan as well. For example, documents pertaining to your health while you are still alive are crucial. Healthcare directives can dictate which medical procedures you would prefer to avoid, if necessary, while appointing a power of attorney for medical decisions can empower another person to make healthcare decisions for you if you are incapacitated and unable to do so yourself.
Another power of attorney document that is commonly included in comprehensive estate plans is one that appoints another person to make financial decisions on your behalf. This may be the same person who is appointed through your medical power of attorney document, or someone else entirely.
Lastly, although wills are extremely common “bedrock” documents for an estate plan, many people could benefit from establishing a trust. These estate planning instruments can help minimize tax exposure, for instance, or perhaps manage real estate interests or setup funds for a family member with special needs. Every estate plan is different, so learning more about the options can help reduce the anxiety over the seemingly complicated estate planning process.