End of life legal documents: What you need to know in Collinsville, IL
Nobody likes to think about death, but having the right legal documents in place before you pass away can significantly ease the burden on your family and make sure any assets you have go to the right people. When you’re beginning your end-of-life planning, talk to your Collinsvile, IL estate planner about preparing these documents.
Last Will and Testament
This is the legal document everyone thinks of when it comes to estate planning, and for good reason. It is where you can specify how you want your assets to be distributed among family, friends and any charitable organizations you want to support. If you have minor children, you can also detail who you want them to live with if you pass away before they grow up. You should also name an executor, who will handle the legal and practical aspects of distributing your assets. When you create your will, talk to your Collinsville attorney about setting up a trust as well. This can be either a living trust or a testamentary trust. The former is established while you are still alive, while the latter is established upon your death. Having a trust in place can simplify things legally and make it easier for your family to receive the things you want them to have.
Despite the similar name, a living will is very different from a last will. A living will is where you detail your medical preferences. These include things like what kind of life-saving measures you want medical staff to try and whether you want to donate your organs. A good living will should be pretty detailed, so it can be uncomfortable to fill out. However, it is important to have one on file so you can get the medical care you want.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a person you authorize to act in your place and make decisions if you are unable to do so. This can be any adult, but it’s important to choose someone you trust to make decisions that are in your best interest. You should set up both a medical and a durable power of attorney. The former is authorized to make medical decisions for you if you’re unconscious or otherwise unable to make decisions. A durable power of attorney, on the other hand, is authorized to make financial and practical decisions for you. These can be the same person or two different people. Each situation is different, so your Collinsville, IL estate planning attorney may recommend additional documents as well. However, these basic documents are the most important ones to have in place to ease the burden on your loved ones.