It doesn’t matter if you are just beginning your career, nearing retirement or anywhere in between, there is no time like the present to prepare for the future. In fact, it’s about more than just preparing for the future. It’s about making sure that certain protections are in place for you and for your family. Sometimes those are the same things, and sometimes they are different.

An estate plan can cover your needs prior to your death, which gives your family peace of mind. An estate plan could also cover the needs of your family after your death, which gives you peace of mind. The right combination of documents lets everyone know what will happen if you become incapacitated or pass away. Either of these events can occur without warning.

What documents might you need?

The documents you need to accomplish protecting you and your family in both circumstances include the following:

  • A will may serve as the cornerstone of any estate plan since it allows you to determine the course of events after your death. You can name a guardian for minor children, an executor to handle your estate and outline where your assets end up.
  • A revocable living trust can hold your property, provide someone to step in to take control of your property if you become incapacitated or pass away, and provide your heirs and beneficiaries with ready access to what they will need without having to go through probate.
  • A durable financial power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to handle some or all of your financial affairs during your incapacitation. You can give this person as much or as little power as you feel comfortable with, and you should make sure you trust him or her.
  • A health care power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. This person should have some idea of what you would want under certain circumstances, and you should make sure you trust him or her.
  • An advance directive could help your health care proxy, your doctors and your family better understand what end-of-life measures you want or don’t want if you cannot express your wishes yourself.

Discovering the right combination of documents that will work best for your situation and family dynamic could take some time and research. Fortunately, you could work with a Georgia attorney experienced in estate planning to help make sure you end up with the best possible plan.