A proper estate plan should include a Last Will and Testament, a Power of Attorney, and a designation of residence. Taking steps to avoid unnecessary expenses or taxes makes good sense, will save money, and upon your death, enable all your assets to go where you wish.
Make a Will. If you do not have a Will, your estate will be distributed to your nearest relatives as specifically set out in the Intestate Succession Act. The distribution of your estate when you do not have a Will is very arbitrary and does not consider a person’s wishes.
Appoint a Power of Attorney. This is a written document that gives someone you appoint the right to act on your behalf. A Power of Attorney is a very powerful document. It may permit the designated person to manage all your financial affairs, sell your home or motor vehicle and distribute the assets as they see fit. Therefore, the person you appoint should be someone you know well, trust, and who you believe will act in your best interest. It is for this reason that the person you appoint is normally a close family member or friend.