Essential Documents that I Need for Estate Planning

Estate planning is an important part of any financial plan, regardless of your age or income. It allows you to prepare for the unexpected and ensure your assets are passed on to the right people during your death. 

Creating a comprehensive estate plan isn’t easy—it requires the help of accountants and lawyers and can be complex. To ensure everything is in order, you need several essential documents for estate planning.

This article will discuss the five main documents you need and how they can help you create a solid estate plan.

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is organizing and managing your property and affairs. At the same time, you are alive and determining what will happen to them after your death. It allows you to control how your assets will be distributed, who manages your affairs, and who will care for your children.

Why is Estate Planning Important?

Estate planning is vital for a variety of reasons. First, it allows you to control how your assets will be distributed after death. Without a plan, your assets will be distributed according to state law, which may not be by your wishes. 

Second, estate planning can help minimize the taxes your heirs will have to pay on your properties. Next, if you have minor children, estate planning allows you to designate a guardian for them in the event of your death.

Lastly, estate planning gives you peace of mind knowing that your loved ones will be in good hands after you’re gone. See if it’s right for you here.

Last Will and Testament

When you pass away, your assets will be distributed according to your wishes only if you have a valid last will and testament. If you don’t have a will, your assets will be distributed according to provincial law.

Your last will and testament ensure you to designate who will receive your assets and in what proportion. You can also use your will to appoint a guardian for minor children and pets.

A will is integral to any estate plan, especially if you have significant assets or young children. Even if you don’t have a lot of assets, a will gives you peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be followed after your death.

Living Trust

Different types of trusts can be used for estate planning. One of the most popular is the living trust. It is a legal document that allows you to control how your assets will be distributed after you die. You can name a trustee to manage the trust and specify how and when the assets will be distributed.

A living trust can be revocable or irrevocable. A revocable trust can be changed at any time, while an irrevocable trust cannot be changed once it has been created.

Both types of trusts have advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to talk to an experienced estate planning attorney to decide which trust is right for you.

Durable Power of Attorney (POA)

A Durable Power of Attorney is considered to be a legal document that gives someone else the authority to act on your behalf. This can be used if you cannot decide for yourself or become incapacitated.

A POA can be used for financial and legal matters. It can be beneficial in managing your affairs if you need help yourself.

When choosing someone to appoint as your Durable Power of Attorney, you should select someone you trust.

This person will have great power over your affairs, so selecting someone you are confident will act in your best interests is essential. You should also appoint a backup if your first choice is unable or unwilling to serve.

Once you have appointed a Durable Power of Attorney, keep them updated on your current situation and any changes that may occur. You should also give them any information they may need to represent you effectively.

Healthcare Power of Attorney (POA)

A Healthcare Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document in which you appoint someone to make decisions about your healthcare if you cannot do so.

This can be a spouse, adult child, family member, or close friend. You should choose someone you trust to make decisions in your best interest and who is willing to advocate for you.

The Healthcare POA gives your designated agent the authority to make decisions about your medical care, including consenting to or refusing treatment, ordering tests and procedures, and authorizing medications.

They can also access your medical records and speak with your doctors on your behalf. It is essential to discuss your wishes with your agent ahead of time, so they know what you would want in different situations.

You can revoke or change your Healthcare POA anytime as long as you are of sound mind. If you become incapacitated and do not have a Healthcare POA in place, your family members will have to go through the courts to get the authority to make decisions on your behalf, which can be costly and time-consuming.

An estate planning attorney can help you determine whether a Healthcare POA is suitable for you and guide you through creating one.

Living Will

If you become incapacitated and cannot make decisions about your medical care. A living will ensure that your wishes are carried out. This document allows you to stipulate the types of medical treatments you would or would not want to receive, such as life-sustaining measures. 

A living will is an integral part of estate planning, as it can help avoid family members making difficult decisions on your behalf.

Other Key Considerations

When you are planning your estate, there are a few other important considerations to keep in mind. First, consider what will happen to your assets after death.

Ensure that your beneficiaries are taken care of and that your debts are paid off. You also need to consider what will happen to your minor children if something happens to you. Finally, you need to consider how you want your estate to be managed after dying.


Estate planning is a critical matter for anyone who owns any assets. It’s crucial to have all the essential documents in place so that your wishes are respected, and your estate is adequately managed after you pass away. 

The five necessary documents outlined in this article—your will, trust, healthcare power of attorney, living will, and power of attorney—can help ensure that your financial affairs are taken care of exactly as you wish when you can no longer manage them yourself. With these documents in place, you can rest assured that your legacy lives according to your wishes.