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Some people in Kansas City put off creating an estate plan, thinking that they can wait until they’re in their old age to do so. While it is important for a person to have an estate plan in place when he or she passes away, estate plans can also come in handy when a person is still alive. If a person is still living, an estate plan can serve as a means to manage and protect the person’s property. An estate plan can also be essential should the person become incapacitated, but is still alive. There are a number of documents that make up a well-rounded estate plan.

For many people, a will is the first estate planning document they think of making. A will lays out how a person’s property and assets will be handed down to that person’s heirs after the person dies. It is important to make sure that the will is executed with the proper formalities per state law, in order to be valid.

A person may also want to create a living trust in addition to a will. By doing so, a person creates a distinct legal entity holding the creator’s assets, which can protect them while the person is alive. Trusts do not go through the probate process and are generally kept private.

In addition, a person in Kansas City may want to consider making a durable power of attorney or DPOA. This documents gives another individual the authority to make financial decisions on the person’s behalf if the person is unable to do so due to a physical or mental incapacity.

Finally, a person may want to create a Do Not Resuscitate Order, a durable health care power of attorney and a living will. These documents cover what a person’s wishes are with regards to their medical care. They can not only lay out what care a person wants, but they can also assign another individual to make medical decisions on the person’s behalf.

Thinking about creating all of these components of an estate plan can seem overwhelming at first. After all, a person wants to ensure their estate plan is air-tight and will be honored when the time comes. Therefore, it may be beneficial to have professional help when creating an estate plan. An attorney can examine a person’s assets and wishes to help create a comprehensive estate plan.

Source: Forbes, “5 Documents You Need To Avoid Costly Estate Planning Errors,” Peter Lazaroff, Oct. 16, 2016