What documents should I include in my estate plan?

No two estate plans are the same and the documents that should be included in an estate plan can vary based on the estate lanner’s needs and goals. What is important is to be familiar with the different types of estate planning documents so the estate planner can set up an estate plan that is best for them.

This blog has discussed the importance of a will. A will is a foundational component of an estate plan and is included in most estate plans. Because a will is so important to direct the distribution of the estate planner’s assets, and ensure each beneficiary receives the property as the estate planner intended, it is essential to be familiar with the requirements for a will to be valid where the estate planner is executing their will. Additionally, a trust can be an important part of an estate plan that may be used to compliment a will or on its own.

Other important estate planning tools can help the estate plan for incapacity. Estate planning documents including an advance healthcare directive, or living will, and a durable power of attorney, can help estate planners prepare for situations when they may not be able to direct their medical care or financial affairs for themselves. An advance healthcare directive can address the medical care and treatment the estate planner wishes to receive, or does not wish to receive, and designate a trusted individual to direct their medical care if they are unable to do so for themselves. Likewise, an a power of attorney can designate a trusted individual to direct the estate planner’s financial affairs if they are incapacitated and unable to do so.

Estate planning can seem like a difficult step to take but that does not diminish its importance. By understanding the estate planning tools and resources available, estate planners can get their estate plan set up and enjoy the peace of mind that goes along with having an effective estate plan in place.