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3 important types of estate planning documents

Residents of the greater Toronto area may be interested in some information regarding the three types of documents that every estate plan should contain. These documents help to ease the burden on the executor and dictate what will happen to a person's assets after his or her death.

One estate planning expert recommends that people have three types of documents in their estate plan. Having this important documentation can help ensure that a person's estate is distributed according to their wishes, rather than having the state dictate who receives the deceased's property. It can also serve to make things smoother for those who are involved with the estate administration. The three main types of documents are the will, the powers of attorney and the general estate information, which should be updated regularly.

The will, which every adult should have, dictates how the distribution of assets should be undertaken after the person's death. Powers of attorney give others the ability to handle that person's affairs should they be incapacitated. The specifics of these documents may vary, depending on the province.

The type of information that needs to be revisited every year or so includes personal information, listings of assets, debts and other liabilities, and information about dependants and those who will inherit under the will. Any gifts that have been made during the person's life that will count against their inheritance should also be noted in the estate planning documents as well.

Estate planning is a complicated process, but the benefits of a comprehensive estate plan a numerous. A lawyer with experience in this area may be able to help by assessing the person's assets and other financial information. The lawyer may then be able to draft the appropriate documents that can help with wealth protection for future generations.

Source: The Globe and Mail, "Estate planning: Three types of documents you’ll need", Tim Cestnick, July 03, 2014

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