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Key Estate Planning Documents You Need

Key Estate Planning Documents You Need

There are several estate planning documents you may need, regardless of your age, health, or wealth:

  1. Last Will and Testament

  2. Durable Power of Attorney

  3. Health Care Directives

  4. Letter of Instruction

  5. Guardianship Designations 

  6. Testamentary or Living Trust

  7. Beneficiary Designations



Last Will and Testament 

The main purpose of a Last Will and Testament is to disburse property to heirs after your death.

Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney can help protect your ability to manage your affairs in the event you become physically unable or mentally incompetent.  It is also a tool that can be used by parents of young adults to help them manage their financial affairs.

Health Care Directives

Health Care Directives let others know what medical treatment you would want, or allows someone to make medical decisions for you, in the event you can't express your wishes yourself.  This document can also be used by young adults so that if they experience a serious medical situation, their parents can help guide medical decisions.

Letter of Instruction

A letter of instruction is an informal, non-legal document that generally accompanies your Last Will and Testament. It is used to express your personal thoughts and directions regarding what is in the will (or about other things, such as your burial wishes or where to locate other, important documents).

Guardianship Designations

If you have minor children or others in your care with special needs, Guardian Designations are important.  In the absence of your appointment, the state or probate court will make these appointments.

Testamentary Trust

A Testamentary Trust is a trust that is defined in your Will and created and funded upon your death.  Testamentary trusts are often used to provide care for minor children or family members with special needs.

Living Trust

A living trust is a separate legal entity you create to own property, such as your home, vehicles and investments.  It is designed to avoid probate.  It provides privacy and a more seamless transition for heirs.

Beneficiary Designations

Even if your estate is not subject to estate taxation, income taxes are often due when certain assets are inherited.  That is one reason why it is very important that your beneficiary designations are completed as you desire.

Neither Voya Financial Advisors nor its representatives offer  legal advice. Please consult with your legal advisors regarding your individual situation.