5 Legal Documents You Need for Your Loved Ones

These documents will ensure that you can assist your loved ones in a medical or financial emergency and, at their deaths, ease the distribution of their estate.


  1. A medical directive

    Also known as a living will or advance health care directive, this document sets out what kind of care your loved ones want to receive if and when they become ill or incapacitated.

  2. A durable power of attorney for healthcare and HIPAA release

    A durable power of attorney for healthcare allows you to make healthcare decisions for your loved ones. A HIPAA release gives you access to your their health records and physicians.

  3. A durable power of attorney for finances

    A durable power of attorney for finances allows you to manage your loved ones' financial affairs, pay bills, sell property, and so on.

  4. A revocable living trust

    It allows your loved ones to retain control over their estate while making transfers of assets to beneficiaries. They designate what property (home, investments, jewelry, and so on) goes into the trust and to whom it will be granted. During their lifetimes, they act as executors of their own living trust. A revocable living trust has an important advantage: it allows their estate to avoid probate at the time of their deaths.

  5. A will

    A will makes clear who will receive your loved ones' assets and personal property. A properly written will helps to avoid disagreements over estate after their deaths.