Most people need to complete three critical documents: a will or living trust, a health-care power of attorney and a power of attorney for your finances.

Most people need to complete three critical documents: a will or living trust, a health-care power of attorney and a power of attorney for your finances. Without those papers, families can be torn apart making decisions for loved ones who no longer can speak for themselves. A lot of people might be well-advised to take $200 or $300 to talk to an elder care  attorney — even if you have to take it from savings, states  a Freep article , adding that it's important that the professional is not hawking a particular product, but can assess your needs sincerely.

A will is a relatively straightforward document dividing up your possessions after your death. It's usually less expensive to complete. The disadvantage, it will be probated, where the papers are public and you go through the Orphans Court. It also can be contested by unhappy family members.

A trust — where your property is owned by a trust – but you own the trust – may be better if you have a complex estate, require asset protection from the nursing home, a beneficiary who must meet certain conditions before receiving assets or a special needs loved one who requires care after you are gone.

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