We know that death is inevitable. Prepare the important real estate documents and other paperwork your heirs will need to help make settling your estate a little easier.
An estate plan is a collection of documents that ensures that your wishes are carried out when you die or are no longer capable of making decisions for yourself. Your family, your real estate property and investments can all be factors that should motivate you to undergo the process.
Will – this document specifies how you want to manage and distribute your assets after your death. If you die without a will, the laws of the state where you resided will determine the distribution of the property. You don’t want your state to determine what happens to what you own!
Durable Power of Attorney – this document authorizes someone else to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Among other things, this would allow your attorney-in-fact to buy and sell property on your behalf.
Healthcare Proxy – this document authorizes someone to make healthcare decisions if you are incapable of making decision for yourself. You can also state your wishes upfront.
Living Will – this document instructs doctors what you wish to do (in case you can’t communicate) with respect to life-prolonging medical treatments.
Hippa Release – this document allows heath care providers to release your health care information to a designated person. If you don’t have this form in place, they are required by federal law to protect the privacy of your health information and can not release info to anyone else.
Letter of Instruction – This document contains information and instructions about your wishes upon death. It is intended to offer details on who to contact and where to find important documents about your personal and financial matters. This is where you want to have information about your real estate documents. Your heirs need to know which properties you own, how to contact any tenants in the properties and the mortgage holders if you have a mortgage. Although you used to need the actual physical deed to a property, that is no longer necessary.
Requirements of these documents can vary from state to state and you should get legal advice. If you need a current estimate of value on real estate that you own, usually a price opinion from a licensed real estate professional will suffice. It would be my privilege to assist you with this at no cost or obligation.