The 10 Documents to Include in Your Estate Plan

Estate Planning in Georgia

Estate plans enable you to protect and care for your loved ones after your death. Making an estate plan can be a touchy subject, but it can save your family and loved ones the hassle and frustration of distributing your assets and caring for you matters upon your demise. It is not only for wealthy people as it is available to anyone regardless of their financial status. Just as everyone has a loved one in their life, everyone deserves to have their estate plan.

To make your estate plan, certain documents are needed to make the process smoother and more efficient. These are the documents commonly needed to be included in your estate plan:

  • Last Will and Testament

 A will enables the testator- the maker of the will, to control the distribution of his assets after their death. A will contains the intent of the testator of how to distribute their assets to their beneficiaries. It saves the court time to analyze and determine how to distribute your assets to your beneficiaries. Furthermore, you can include the terms and the beneficiaries you wish to give a certain part of your assets. 

  • Living Trust

 A living trust allows you to have control over the distribution of your assets without a will. It is harder to maintain compared to a will, but it enables you to have more control over your assets and how they will be distributed to your beneficiaries. This is because a will can have certain restrictions as stated by law. Hence, if your will contains invalid terms, they can be subsequently declared invalid by the court during probate.

  • Advance Healthcare Directive

 This allows you to appoint an individual to make decisions regarding your health in the event when you are incapacitated. These individuals have commonly trusted family members or loved ones. They will be in charge of making medical decisions for you when you are in a coma or unconscious.

  • Physician’s Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment 

This document states the terms which you would like your physicians to follow regarding your end-of-life care. It enables the physicians to respect your wishes and also allows you to state your intentions on how you would like to be cared for.

  • Funeral Instructions

 Well-detailed funeral instructions save your loved ones the frustrating discussion on how you would like to be buried or cremated. It states the terms you would want them to follow in the event of your demise.

  • “Payable on Death” Beneficiary Forms

 These are documents that allow you to transfer your financial accounts upon your death. These financial accounts include, but are not limited to, bank accounts, CDs, and investment accounts. This enables you to transfer your money to your beneficiaries without them going to probate.

  • Insurance Policies

Your insurance policies should be made known to your beneficiaries in case you unexpectedly pass away. Furthermore, it is recommended that you collate your insurance policies into one location such that your loved ones can easily locate them.

  • Proof of Identity and Relationships

Your identification documents should be found in one place so they are easily obtained by your executor.

  • Financial Information

You should include your financial information so that your beneficiaries can easily access them. These should include your financial accounts so your loved ones have instructions on how to access them. These can include your credit cards, bank accounts, loans, and others.

  • Titles and Deeds

The titles of your properties should be easily found so that the question of the validity of the ownership of your properties would not be disputed. These documents can make the distribution of your estate easier.

These are the documents needed to make your estate planning easier. Estate planning should be a priority of every individual. This provides security for your loved ones long after you are gone. Contact the estate planning professionals at Smith Barid for further consultation.


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