It is a fact of life that no one lives forever. Unpleasant as it may be, you need to be prepared for the inevitable with an estate plan. If you do not have an estate plan at the time of your death the laws of the state of New Jersey will determine who will inherit your property, which could lead to an outcome you do not like. The following are three basic documents to include in your estate plan.
Item 1: A will
The will forms the backbone of a well-rounded estate plan. In a will you dictate who is to receive your assets upon your death. A will does not need to be complex. Even a simple will that lists all your assets and accounts is better than no will at all. You can even name a guardian for your minor children in your will.
Item 2: A power of attorney
A power of attorney grants a person the ability to handle your medical and financial affairs while you are still alive but cannot handle these affairs on your own due to incapacity. Some examples of incapacity include having dementia or falling into a coma. There are two types of power of attorney. A medical power of attorney allows a person of your choosing to make medical decisions on your behalf. A financial power of attorney allows a person of your choosing to handle your financial affairs.
Item 3: An advance health care directive
In an advance health care directive, you can outline what kind of end-of-life care you wish to receive if you are unable to make or communicate such choices when the time comes. For example, in an advance health care directive you can state whether you would want to be put on life support or receive CPR.
Learn more about estate planning
A will, power of attorney and an advance health care directive are three basic documents to include in any estate plan. With these documents you can ensure your wishes will be followed during your lifetime and upon your death. An attorney can provide further information on estate planning. Our firm’s estate planning website may be of interest to those in New Jersey who want to learn more about this topic.