Let us say that you prepared a will several years ago, which is a good thing. That puts you ahead of more than half the adults in the U.S.

However, you are close to retirement now and thinking about other documents you may need, thoughts that cause some sleepless nights. What are the basics of an effective estate plan?

Medical power of attorney

If you suffer a stroke or are in a coma after surviving an accident, you will need someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf. This will outline your instructions and keep others, including family members, from having conflicting opinions about your wishes.

Financial power of attorney

Once again, you will need someone to manage your finances, pay your bills and prepare your tax returns if you become incapacitated. Should you recover your health, you can continue to control your own financial affairs.

Living will

A living will is also known as an advance directive. In this document, you will present guidance concerning medical care if you ever become incapacitated. For example, if you are clinging to life after a serious accident, this is where you can state your wishes as to whether you want medical professionals to keep you alive by artificial means.

Final tips

At this point, your will is likely due for an update. Hereafter, you should review your estate planning documents at least every five years so they can keep pace with the changes in your life. Keep your estate planning papers together in a safe place in your home or your attorney’s office, and let your heirs know where they can find them after your death. Basic estate planning allows you to cover all the important bases both after your death and while you are still alive. Once these documents are in place, you will probably sleep better at night.