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Estate planning documents: why you need them

Even though most people admit that they haven’t done so yet, about 58% of adults in the US have not completed essential estate planning documents. It can be uncomfortable for many people to discuss what will happen to their assets when they pass away, but estate planning is necessary to ensure your final wishes are carried out. If you live in Michigan, here are some important things you should know about planning your estate.

Last will and testament

The Last Will and Testament is an estate planning document that will dictate how your assets will be distributed to your beneficiaries when you pass away. The document will also describe when your loved ones will receive the assets you’ve left behind and indicates who will be your estate executor. You need a Last Will and Testament so you can take estate planning into your own hands instead of allowing the state to determine what will happen to your estate.

Durable power of attorney

Your Durable Power of Attorney is essential for estate planning because it allows you to assign someone to be your attorney-in-fact. You can choose from a “sprung” power of attorney in which the terms of the document are legally binding the moment the papers are signed or opt for the “springing” power of attorney in which the terms of the document are not legally binding until a certain date or if you become incapacitated.

Advance directive for healthcare

This series of documents is important for estate planning because the directive allows you to assign someone to serve as your healthcare proxy. You should make your wishes known to your relatives regarding your medical care if you become unable to make these decisions for yourself. This makes your health-related wishes clear and can ease some of the stress on your loved ones if you become incapacitated or seriously ill.