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Top six documents needed for estate planning

The recent passing of a modern-day music legend left the entertainment world in mourning but should be used as a reminder to everyone about one important fact—estate planning matters. Too many Florida residents, like their counterparts around the nation, do not have adequate plans in place for after they die. Some do not have any plans at all.

Estate planning is for everyone. No longer just needed by the wealthy, making plans ahead of time can save family members valuable time, money and headache when sorting out a loved one’s estate. There are six types of documents that should be factored into any good estate plan. A will, formally called a last will and testament, or a trust are two documents that allow people to outline how they want their assets distributed after they die. A living will is not the same at all but is rather a way of indicating what types of medical treatments a person wishes to have or not to have. This is also called an advance health care directive.

When developing a living will, a durable power of attorney may be used to give another person the right to make medical decisions on a person’s behalf. This document can also provide control over a person’s finances. Life insurance policies or retirement accounts will have designated beneficiaries that should always be updated to reflect what is in a will or a trust. For assets in bank or brokerage accounts or for homes, payable on death or transfer on death forms should be used.

Knowing what estate planning documents are needed can be difficult. Working with an experienced Florida attorney may help people to make the right decisions.

Source: Forbes, “Prince And Estate Planning: What We Can Learn From The Late Musician’s Financial Picture,” April 29, 2016

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