If you are over the age of 18, you need a simple “Estate Plan,” especially if you have children.
A basic estate plan consists of three documents:
- A “Power of Attorney,” which appoints someone you choose who will have the power to do things on your behalf such as banking, real estate and other transactions if you are unable to do them yourself; please note that the only “power” this documents does not include, is the power to make health care decisions;
- A “Living Will,” which does two main things: appoints a health care agent (or someone to make your health care decisions) and designates organ donation; and
- A “Last Will and Testament.” This document only operates upon your death and it has two or three main functions, depending on your circumstances. First, it designates an “executor” to administer your estate in the Probate Court. Secondly, it directs your executor how to distribute your possessions. And lastly, if you have minor children, it appoints a guardian for your children to make sure they are taken care of by someone you trust instead of someone you don’t want to care for your children, like the state/DCF.
After you have your Estate Planning documents done, what do you do with them?
I always suggest to my clients that they have three options:
1. Store the documents at my office in my safe;
2. Pay for a safe deposit box at a bank; or
3. Go to a store and get an inexpensive small waterproof fire safe (just like the one that is on sale at Aldi this week).
Once you have secured your documents, make sure to tell a friend or family member where to find them.