“What you don’t need is dear at any price.” - Cato the Elder
It’s a great day when you can start a blog post with an instructive quote from Cato the Elder.
In the world of estate planning, there are plenty of things that are dear at any price -- law’s version of unnecessary surgery. But there are five documents recommended for good reasons. And the best part is that you can complete many of them on your own.
Here are the Big 5:
2.) Power of Attorney for Healthcare
3.) Living Will
4.) Power of Attorney for Finances
5.) HIPAA Release.
You might also want an Authorization for Final Disposition - Use this to document instructions for cremation or burial or any special directions for a funeral or life celebration. If you have minor children, you should also have a trust for their care.
This may seem like a lot of work, but for simple estates, it is not too bad. If you just chip away at it over a couple weeks, you can make good progress.
Before you sit down to tackle that will, you will need to make a list of what you own and what is a “non-probate” asset. This is an asset that will not be controlled by the will, but by a beneficiary statement. An example is a retirement plan.
I’ll cover more on non-probate assets in a future post.
Your situation is unique and you may want to consult an attorney. This blog provides general information and is not legal advice.