Planning for death or incapacity is unpleasant but helps assure that your family members are looked after, and your wishes are carried out. Certain documents should be considered in your estate planning because these may assure your affairs are handled properly during a stressful time.

A will is essential and helps guarantee that your assets are left to the people you selected. Otherwise, a Colorado judge will decide which heirs inherit your property under state law.

Selecting an executor who will oversee the allocation of your property is an important. This requires the selection of a diligent and responsible individual. You may also select a guardian for your children if both of their parents die.

Wills are filed publicly. A private letter of instruction may be included which is not legally binding but can help guide your family members.

A durable power of attorney addresses the possibility that you become physically or mentally unable to make decisions. This document appoints a responsible agent to engage in financial decisions on your behalf such as paying your bills, managing financial assets, participating in real estate transactions and filing your taxes.

A power of attorney may take effect immediately or upon a qualifying event, such as temporary or permanent disability. It ends with the death of the person who granted the authority.

Advance medical directives allow you to state your preferences about care that you will accept. First, a living will contains approved end-of-life care that may be rendered such as life support, artificial feeding, CPR, antibiotics and intravenous hydration.

A durable power of attorney for healthcare allows for the appointment of someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. Finally, a do-not-resuscitate order prevents healthcare workers from performing CPR if there is a cardiac arrest or breathing stops.

The last document is a trust arrangement that broadens options for asset management. This allows a person to transfer money or property to a trusted individual, the trustee, who faithfully manages the trust for another party.

A trust can help resolve concerns whether your heir is sufficiently mature or responsible to manage the inheritance. A trust also expedites the allocation of your assets because it does not have to undergo probate.

Effective estate planning can help your family after you die. A lawyer can also provide options that assure your wishes are carried out.