Such documents are typically created along with an advanced medical directive for physicians, also called a living will, which clarify one's wishes regarding end-of-life medical treatment, including resuscitation and organ donation.
They should also have a durable financial power of attorney that identifies the person they'd like to manage their money (e.g., pay taxes, pay bills, handle bank transactions) should they become disabled, he said.
A power-of-attorney document eliminates the need to secure authority from the courts to handle their affairs, thus saving family members significant legal fees.
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The other important document that all parents need is a last will and testament, said Bennett, which delineates who inherits their assets and identifies a legal guardian for any underage children.
Absent a will, the state would decide how to distribute their estate and who is best suited to care for their kids, which may not reflect their wishes.
Lastly, a revocable living trust can potentially save surviving family members enormous hassle and expense, Bennett said.