The Top 4 Estate Planning Documents that Everyone Needs and why you need them is an essential read. We recently went through end of life care for my sweet father-in-law and it gave us all peace of mind to carry out his wishes. Scott Golightly does a great job of explaining the four documents you need and why. If you haven’t taken the time to have these four essential documents, I highly encourage you to acquire them through Scott. His firm makes it easy and efficient. 


“Without guidance and support for patients and families approaching death, there may be unnecessary conflict, confusion, and trauma that linger long after the passing of a loved one.” ”
― Lisa J. Shultz

The Top 4 Estate Planning Documents that Everyone Needs

By Scott Golightly

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.

So, what can you do the next time you think you want or need something, but aren’t sure if it’s right for you?

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 handpick 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 functions, 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.

About Scott Golightly:

As a husband, father, and small business owner, nothing is more important to me than providing for my family and keeping them safe and secure. I believe that most people feel the same way. That is why I have dedicated my career to helping families and small businesses plan for the future and protect the well-being of their loved ones.

Although life has taught us to “always be prepared” and “expect the unexpected,” only about 60% of Americans have actually taken the time to prepare a plan to handle their affairs after death or disability. That’s simply not good enough. In fact, I’ve witnessed firsthand what not having a plan in place can do, sometimes resulting in the complete self-destruction of a family or business.

As an estate and business planning attorney, my passion is to help families and small businesses plan for and successfully navigate the unexpected and inevitable events in life. Specifically, my job is to ensure that (1) personal, family, and business goals are realized, (2) risks and expenses are minimized, and (3) peace of mind is achieved.

I take pride in providing each of my clients with personal attention, timely assistance, clear communication, and excellent results. I explain, in plain English, the available options and my recommendations based on the client’s specific situation. Working together, we then develop and implement a carefully tailored plan to ensure that the client’s objectives are achieved.

Scott received his B.A. in Political Science from Christopher Newport University and his J.D. from the T. C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond. While in law school, Scott served as the Editor-in-Chief of the University of Richmond’s Law Review, was a member of the Moot Court Board, and served on the law school’s Honor Council.


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