One document that can have some very big impacts when a person passes away is a will. However, it is certainly not the only one. All sorts of different documents can play a substantial role in an estate plan.
For one, there are a variety of different estate planning documents, beyond just wills, a person can create as part of their estate plan, including trust documents, power of attorney documents and advance medical directive documents. Estate planning documents can touch on a range of different issues and can address a range of different circumstances, so what types of estate planning documents a person might want to have and what terms they might want such documents to have heavily depends on their situation and goals.
In addition to documents that create or control estate planning mechanisms, another class of documents that can be created in connection to estate plans are lists intended for one's future personal representative, such as lists of accounts and passwords. These sorts of lists can help personal representatives, after a person has died, with identifying, locating and accessing the assets of the deceased's estate.
Another document-related issue that can have impacts when a person passes away is whether their personal representative knows where important documents related to their property are, such as car titles and real estate deeds. When a personal representative doesn't know where such documents are and it is not clear where they are located, it can create some significant complications in the probate process. Proper document management and taking measures aimed at ensuring one's future personal representative will have the right information regarding document location when they need it are among the steps that can be taken to try to prevent these sort of situations from arising.
As this shows, all kinds of important document-related matters, such as matters regarding document creation and document management, can come up in connection to estate planning. How such document-related matters are addressed can have significant impacts on how well-positioned a given estate plan is to achieve the goals a person has for it. Estate planning lawyers can assist individuals with document-related issues regarding estate plans.
Source: Money, "24 Essential Pieces of Estate Planning Paperwork You Need," Jill Schlesinger, April 20, 2016