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The Top 4 Estate Planning Documents that Everyone Needs

A comprehensive estate plan can help protect you, your family, and your assets.

Estate planning does not have to be difficult – especially when you have a trained legal advocate who can help guide you through the process and explain the purpose and advantages of different must-have estate planning documents.

Below, we will go over the four essential estate planning documents everyone should have in order to rest easy at night, knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of.


The Four Essential Documents for Estate Planning:

Last Will and Testament

The cornerstone of a good estate plan is a last will and testament. This document directs how you want to dispose of your property. It also gives you the opportunity to hand pick an executor who will carry out the final wishes detailed in your will.

This is also considered one of the must have estate planning documents for parents because they can name a guardian who will be responsible for taking care of their children in case they are still minors at the time of their passing.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney allows you, the principal, to appoint an agent to act on your behalf regarding financial transactions, especially if you become incapacitated.

The agent you name should be someone you trust because he or she will be able to conduct important financial business on your behalf, such as:

  • Having access to your bank account
  • Filing your taxes
  • Selling your home or personal property
  • Paying your bills
  • Having access to your financial records

This is a business agency relationship in which you give your agent access to your money to get things done that you are unable to do for yourself.

Healthcare Power of Attorney or Healthcare Proxy

This document appoints an agent who can make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. This person can make treatment decisions regarding your healthcare as well as end-of-life care.

Living Will Advance Directive

A living will advance directive is a document that details the type of medical treatment that you do or do not want to receive in the event of end-of-life decisions.

For example – if you are in a persistent vegetative state with no brain function, and machines and medications are only keeping your body functional, you can state that you want them to be removed so you can die naturally.


Seek Legal Assistance for the Preparation of Essential Estate Planning Documents

The estate planning attorneys at Golightly, Mulligan & Morgan PLC make the estate planning process understandable and approachable.

We can discuss your individual needs and preferences and ensure that they are integrated into your estate planning documents correctly to protect you, your family, and your future.

Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future cases. Also, nothing in this website creates an attorney/client relationship, and you should not leave anything of a confidential nature on this website.

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Golightly Mulligan and Morgan, PLC
(804) 658-3873

Richmond Office:
2016 John Rolfe Parkway
Richmond, VA 23238

Virginia Beach Office: 
1244 Perimeter Parkway, Suite 441
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23454


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