What documents do I need for a simple estate plan?

Amanda wanted to keep her estate plans simple. As a working mom, she didn’t have a lot of time to mull a deep investment strategy or do anything fancy. Plus, she and her husband, Eric, didn’t have a lot in savings. Amanda’s goal was to get the “minimum done” before her third child was born and then figure out a more detailed strategy later, when she had breathing room. We might recommend Amanda create the following documents:

  • Health Care Power of Attorney and Advanced healthcare directive. She would provide written guidance for Eric (and her doctors) about what to do if she became incapacitated and what treatments she preferred. Also, this directive allows for Eric to care for his wife without having to go through an expensive legal battle just to get her the care she might need.
  • Durable Power of attorney. This document would allow Eric (or her mother) to make legal and financial decisions for her, if she became incapacitated.
  • Will or revocable living trust. This document determines how Amanda wants her assets allocated after she dies and provides instructions for her heirs. Amanda might also want to include a document detailing what she wants to be done with her computer files and popular blog as well. (Please note, a will is just a statement of intention to the court. It suggests where you want your assets to go and who should be the executor. But a judge must say the will is valid before it goes into effect, legally speaking.)

With these basic preparations done, Amanda can feel more secure, although she’d likely benefit from a more detailed strategy and a regular reassessment of her financial world and priorities.

If you have questions about estate planning and the needed forms, call an estate planning attorney, like an Estate Planning Lawyer Belgrade, MT, today.

Thank you to Joel Silverman, Attorney and Author, and the experts at Silverman Law Office, PLLC, for their insight and expertise in estate planning.