Basic estate planning begins with completing documents that allow your last wishes to be carried out as you choose. But are you familiar with the documents you’ll need? Here’s a list of common estate planning documents and their purpose.
Advance Directive. Your instructions for end-of-life and quality of life wishes regarding medical treatments. Share your directive with your healthcare providers and family.
Asset inventory. A list of all your financial assets that shows how much you paid for the asset (your basis), and how the asset is titled, such as joint tenancy or payable on death.
Beneficiary designations. Forms you complete to specify who will receive the proceeds of accounts and assets that aren’t distributed via your will, such as life insurance policies, IRAs and 401(k)s. Be sure to appoint contingent beneficiaries as well, in case your first choice predeceases you.
Power of attorney. Gives the person of your choice the ability to act on your behalf if you become incompetent or incapable.
Power of attorney for healthcare. Gives the person of your choice the authority to make healthcare decisions for you that are not specified in your Advance Directive.
Record of locations. A list of the location of legal and financial documents and assets, including safety deposit boxes and keys, mortgage deeds and titles to property, bank and retirement accounts, and your will.
Trust agreement. Trusts are legal arrangements that can be used to carry out your wishes to distribute income, provide for your long-term care, transfer your assets, and make sure a favorite charity receives donations.
Will. Also called a last will and testament. Explains how you want to transfer your property.
Estate planning is about much more than taxes. It’s also about peace of mind, for both you and your family. We’re happy to work with your financial team to make sure your plan accomplishes what you intend.
If you have questions about which estate planning documents you should have completed, please contact us at Cisco & Co CPAs. We have suggestions and tips to help complete these documents.