Estate planning is ultimately not for us, but for our loved ones. Your survivors will be thankful if you leave behind a well-written estate plan. If you leave behind a mess for your survivors to sort through, however, they can suddenly find themselves in the middle of an unexpected challenge. While many of us want to make our estates easy to handle, it can be hard to determine what estate planning documents you should include. The following reviews six estate planning documents you will likely need to include in your estate plan.

Beneficiary Designations

When it comes to life insurance or retirement accounts, a person is often asked to name a beneficiary. This appointed individual will inherit the proceeds after you pass away. These designations exist outside of wills and trusts. It is critical to routinely review your estate planning documents to make sure they are up to date.

Digital Assets Provisions

One of the biggest to estate planning over the last century has been the introduction of digital assets. You should make sure to include details in your estate plan about how your digital assets should be handled. While this includes digital photos, it also includes anything stored in a cloud as well as any social media accounts like those associated with Facebook, Google, or Twitter. 

Durable Power of Attorney

These documents let you appoint someone following your incapacity to act for you when financial or legal matters are involved. Avoid putting off this appointment because you must be legally competent to assign such a role.

Health Care Powers of Attorney and Living Wills

To make sure that someone can make medical decisions for you after you become incapacitated, it is a good idea to create a health care power of attorney. These documents are different from durable power of attorneys for financial or legal matters. Living wills let a person explain the type of care that they would like to receive in case they become incapacitated and cannot communicate their wishes.

Letters of Intent

It is almost always a good idea to include a letter as part of an estate plan to include instructions, personal or financial information, and requests. While these letters often do not carry the weight of other more formal estate planning documents, they often do not need to reach this level of formality.

List All Important Documents

Estate planning documents are only helpful if your survivors know where to find these documents. As a result, you should make a list of documents as well as information about where each of these documents is stored. Creating this document helps your loved ones rest easy with the assurance that they have found all of the documents that comprise your estate plan.

Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer

Estate planning is full of challenges. One of the best ways to avoid these potential pitfalls and achieve your goals is to retain the assistance of an experienced attorney. Contact lawyer Jim A Lyon today to schedule a free case evaluation.