Three Documents You Can’t Do Without

MSN’s Liz Pulliam Weston makes a strong case that everyone should have a durable power of attorney for health care, a durable power of attorney for finances, and a living will. Should you become incapacitated, these documents will name someone to make decisions about your medical care and finances (you don’t need to choose the same person for both), and will enable you to state whether you would want your life to be sustained through artificial means.

It’s natural to resist thinking about some of these decisions. However, should something happen to you, it would be a gift to your loved ones to have made these decisions ahead of time.

If you don’t have such forms, the MSN article suggested talking with an attorney (get a referral from a friend who has such documents) or taking a do-it-yourself approach via software like Quicken Willmaker, which can help with each of these documents (if you have a PC). Everyone should also have a will, a document that’s especially important if you have children since it enables you to name a guardian.

Whether you’ll want to use the do-it-yourself method, especially with a will, depends, in part, on the complexity of your estate. We used an attorney for all of these documents. While I know people who are very comfortable with the do-it-yourself process, I wanted the added peace of mind of knowing that the documents were done right.

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