Necessary Considerations and Documents of Estate Planning

Certain estate planning documents are critical and should be in place for all individuals in order to dispose of assets on death, enable medical or financial decision-making in case of incapacity and to protect and provide for beneficiaries — in short, to allow the individual to retain control of his or her person and property and avoid time-consuming court proceedings.

When an individual dies without a Last Will and Testament (a "Will"), also known as intestacy, his or her estate will be disposed of pursuant to state laws that may not follow his or her wishes. When a person becomes incapable of managing his or her affairs, a court proceeding is generally necessary to appoint someone to care for the person and/or his or her property. These proceedings can be time-consuming, expensive and intrusive. The essential documents to retain control and avoid time-consuming court proceedings generally include a Will, a Revocable Trust, a Health Care Proxy, a Living Will and a Power of Attorney, all of which are addressed below.

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CRC 2937270 2/20