There are certain documents critical for your estate plan. I call the following list of these documents “The Big Five“: the Will, the Durable Power of Attorney, the Health Care Proxy, the HIPAA Release, and the Advance Directive.
Also, for those who own their home, as opposed to renting, I recommend the The Big Five “+1“: The Homestead Declaration. A properly recorded homestead prevents a judgment creditor from forcing the sale of the primary residence to pay a court judgment. Renters do not need the Homestead. Again, this document ensures that a homestead has been recorded on the primary residence.
“The Big Five“ documents avoid probate court involvement. These documents are not only for your best interest, they are also a gift to your family.
Everyone needs a will, durable power of attorney, health care proxy, HIPAA release, and an advance directive. It is very important to execute these documents as soon as possible before it becomes too late. Once a person becomes mentally incapacitated (i.e., is unable to understand what they are signing), it is too late. Once it is too late, petitioning the probate court is usually the only choice left.
I am happy to review your existing documents without charge. After my review, I may recommend changes and charge a fixed fee for the recommended new documents, if any.