Several different estate planning documents should be included in a comprehensive estate plan to protect the interests of the estate planner and ensure their wishes are carried out. Estate planners setting up their estate plan should know what these estate planning documents are and how estate planning tools can help them develop an estate plan that works for them.
Estate planning documents to include in an estate plan
Estate planning documents estate planners should consider as part of their estate plan include:
- Will: A will is a foundational component of an estate plan. A will is used to distribute the estate planner’s property and assets to their loved ones. It is important that the requirements for a will to be valid are met which is why an estate planner needs to be familiar with the pieces of a valid will.
- Trust: A trust can also be an important component of an estate plan. A trust can be used in place of a trust or alongside a will. A trust can be useful for avoiding the probate process. Because of the potential benefits of a trust, estate planners should understand what they are.
- Advance healthcare directive: An advance healthcare directive is an important component of an estate plan to plan ahead for the estate planner’s medical care needs and if the estate planner becomes incapacitated at some point.
- Durable power of attorney: A durable power of attorney is another important component of an estate plan. A durable power of attorney can be used to designate a trusted individual to handle the estate planner’s financial affairs if they become incapacitated and are unable to do so for themselves.
Estate planning can provide peace of mind for estate planners and their families. Estate planners can rest easy that their estate will be handled according to their wishes and that their family members will not be burdened by difficult decisions during an emotional and challenging time. For that reason, it is helpful for estate planners to be familiar with the different estate planning tools and what they do.