Five legal documents every adult must have
THE BIG FIVE There are five legal documents every adult needs to have. Each one needs to be signed, dated, notarized as necessary and kept in a safe place that someone else knows about and can retrieve on a moment’s notice.
No. 1. Living Will. Also called an Advanced Directive, this states what you want to happen with respect to extraordinary measures to keep you alive should you become terminal or permanently unconscious.
No. 2. Healthcare Power of Attorney. You need to name someone who would make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot make them yourself. Name up to five people.
No. 3. Durable Power of Attorney. This is the document in which you designate one or more people to handle the financial aspects of your life should you become temporarily or permanently unable to do so due to mental or physical incapacitation.
No. 4. Will. If you have minor children, this is where you will name their guardians should you pass. Your will regards the assets you hold in your name only and names the person who will handle those assets in your stead should you pass away .
No. 5. Revocable Trust. This document avoids the probate court process when someone becomes incapacitated or dies. It does other things as well, but that is the most important aspect.