5 Legal Documents Everyone Should Have

Learn the must-have legal documents that best protect your family.

ByABC News via GMA logo
August 23, 2009, 10:29 PM

Aug. 24, 2009 — -- For all the grief the death of Michael Jackson caused worldwide, the King of Pop's passing seemed to create even more legal controversy.

From custody battles to suits over Jackson's estate, Jackson's memory was clouded by legal power plays.

Though controversies surrounding celebrity deaths tend to be high profile, many of the same legal battles ensue for thousands of American families every year.

But according to family legal and financial expert Alexis Martin Neely, there are five documents that every parent should have to streamline the process and make sure their family is taken care of should the worst happen.

Living Will and Financial Durable Power of Attorney

There are two documents that Neely said go together -- a Living Will and a Financial Durable Power of Attorney.

They are documents in place not for when the parent dies, but in case the parent is hospitalized and cannot communicate, Neely said.

The documents name the people who should make the health care, legal and financial decisions for you if you can't make them for yourself.