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5 critical pieces of paperwork for estate planning

Don't assume that all you need to finish up your estate planning is a will.

Your will is a great place to start and forms the basis of your estate plan. If you don't have one, you may want to focus on it first. However, there are many other documents that you need as well.

Health care power of attorney

If you're incapacitated, who is going to make medical decisions for you? This document legally transfers that power to anyone you choose.

Legal power of attorney

The legal power of attorney does the same thing, but for non-health issues. For instance, you may want someone to pay the mortgage and manage your bank accounts if you cannot.

Do not resuscitate order

It may be wise to fill out a do not resuscitate (DNR) order to make sure that medical professionals know your wishes if you aren't able to communicate them.

Besides these estate planning documents, there are other documents that you should have in order and accessible for your family and others handling your affairs.

Get all of your insurance paperwork in order to help your heirs. This could include health insurance documents that need to be used or life insurance policies that will pay out upon your passing.

Make sure that your heirs have all of the paperwork needed to prove what you own and what you owe. This includes the titles for vehicles, for instance, and the mortgage papers for your home.

This is just a small sampling of the documents you need to get together when doing your estate planning, but it shows you just how important it is and how drastically it can impact your loved ones.

Source: Money, "24 Essential Pieces of Estate Planning Paperwork You Need," Jill Schlesinger, accessed Sep. 13, 2017

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