Though having a will can act as the cornerstone of any estate plan, it is important that you remember that numerous other planning tools could help you create a comprehensive plan. Your end-of-life wishes do not have to only revolve around how your assets are distributed because your plan can address many other aspects of your life.
You, like many other New Jersey residents, may think that estate plans are only useful after death. However, that is not the case. In fact, you can take the time to consider your wishes for health care in the event that you become incapacitated and appoint individuals to handle your medical and financial affairs if you can no longer do so yourself.
Power of attorney
Your power of attorney documents will play useful roles when putting individuals in charge of your affairs. When it comes to your financial and legal affairs, you could create a durable power of attorney that allows you to choose someone to handle financial transactions, make real estate moves on your behalf, and involve him or herself in other legal matters when you cannot do so yourself.
Another type of power of attorney agent you could appoint is one to handle your medical decisions. If you become incapacitated and cannot express your wishes for care to a doctor or another member of medical staff, your health care power of attorney agent would have the responsibility of making those decisions on your behalf. Certainly, anyone you place into the role of power of attorney agent should have your full trust.
Letter of intent
Another document that you may not have considered putting in your estate plan is a letter of intent. This may not necessarily be a formal document, but it could allow you to provide further details for why you made certain decisions regarding your estate plan. Commonly, the testator leaves this letter with an executor or beneficiary so that this person has more information to go on than just the details in the will. You could also choose to leave your wishes for your funeral arrangements in this type of document.
Of course, your estate plan will be unique to you and your estate, so you may choose to utilize documents that other parties may not. In any case, you undoubtedly want to create the best plan for expressing your wishes.