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The top must-have financial planning documents

Couples and individuals in Nevada may or may not have thought about what will happen to their estate when they pass away. Even those who have considered this scenario may not have all the proper documentation to ensure they and their heirs are properly taken care of when the time comes. There are a few essential estate planning documents Las Vegas residents should have in place.

Perhaps the most obvious document is a will. The will dictates exactly how your estate will be divided up amongst your heirs. It also places different responsibilities on different beneficiaries. Nevada is an intestacy state, meaning the courts will divide up the estate if no will is in place. 

Next are the different powers of attorney. Individuals must ensure their personal, financial and medical needs are met in the event of incapacitation. Granting general power of attorney means the appointee can handle the incapacitated individual's financial and personal assets. A health care proxy will also need to be named, who can make medical decisions on the other's behalf; this can be the same person who has general power of attorney.

In order for the healthcare proxy to be fully effective, two additional documents should be in place. The first is a living will, which spells out a person's wishes, should they enter into a vegetative state. A HIPAA authorization should also be signed, which allows medical professionals to discuss an individual's condition with their proxy.

Because these documents are so closely intertwined, leaving one out could make estate planning much more difficult. Anyone who wants to ensure they and their heirs are prepared for this stage in their lives may benefit from speaking with an estate planning law attorney.

Source: Financial Planning, "5 Estate Planning Documents Clients Must Have," Bruce W. Fraser, August 11, 2015

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