The Essential Estate Planning Documents You Might Not Have Considered
If you have spent any of your time researching or developing an estate plan, you have probably realized that you will need to create a number of very important legal documents. Your last will and testament, living trust instrument, advance medical directives, powers of attorney, and other key documents are essential to creating a comprehensive plan.
Yet not all the documents you create will have to comply with strict legal standards or provide you with benefits specifically allowed under the law. In fact, there are a number of important documents that, though not technically “legal documents,” are very important to your estate plan. Let’s take a look at some of the most important.
Whether you are in the process of creating one or more trusts or are simply trying to get an idea of what kind of property you own, and assets schedule is an essential document. With an asset schedule you can detail exactly what property your trust owns, or at the very least, give your attorney, financial planner, or other interested parties an idea about the kinds of property you have. Once you can take a look at everything you have and decide what is best for you, your assets schedule can then serve as your roadmap as you go about the trust funding process.
A good contact list is something everyone should have, but it’s especially important when you’re creating an estate plan. Your contact list should not only include contact details for your spouse, close family members, and physicians, but it should also include people you want notified should an emergency arise. For example, if you create powers of attorney or medical directives, you will want to include the name of your health care agent or representative so your doctors can contact that person in an emergency.
Letter to the Executor
When you create your last will and testament you will have to choose an executor who will represent your interests during probate. Even though the Texas probate code is fairly clear about an executor’s duties, it doesn’t provide a full picture. Your executor will need to know a lot of important personal details that won’t likely be found in your will, your trust, or other documents you leave behind. Creating a letter to the executor that contains more specific information that your executor will need is an essential step.
Digital Estate Planning Documents
Digital estate plans are often informal, allowing your executor or other interested parties to manage your digital assets or online interests. Creating a list that includes relevant passwords, hints, and access information is also a very good idea.
Of course, if you’re having trouble identifying the kinds of documents you need to create or the type of information you need to include, you need to contact your state planning attorney for guidance. Even though many of the documents you create will not have to meet legal standards, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about creating them.