The number of estate planning documents that you need is based upon your financial situation, goals, concerns, needs, and federal and state law. The most simple of plans includes a simple will, financial power of attorney, health care power of attorney (with HIPAA release), living will, and organ donation form. Thats 5 estate planning documents. These plans are often a good fit for an unmarried person with few assets and no minor children.
Most people and their families would benefit from revocable living trust planning which adds one document, the trust, and were up to 6 documents.
In addition, if you have minor children you need to provide for their care should you become incapacitated, but not die. This takes two more documents, a stand-by guardianship authorization and first responder authorization, for a total of 8 documents.
If you have a federally taxable estate, want to pass on a family vacation home to your children, special needs beneficiaries, or charitable goals, you may need additional documents.
Be sure to disclose all of your goal, concern, asset, family, and health information to your estate planning attorney, so that he or she can carefully design a customized estate plan that works for you. While you, likely, need many, or all, of the documents listed above, they are carefully crafted for each situation.
Make sure that these documents are available when you need them. Let your trusted helpers and loved ones know where you keep them and implement a medical document online service such as Docubank (www.docubank.com.) Docubank ensures that your medical power of attorney, HIPAA release, living will, organ donation authorization, and contact information are available 24/7/365.
If you have questions or concerns about what estate planning documents are right for you and your family, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.