Everyone should have an estate plan because an estate plan can protect the interests of the estate planners and can also protect their family and ensure they are cared for. Estate planners should know about the different estate planning tools that can help them develop the best estate plan for them and their loved ones.
- Will: a will is the document most commonly associated with estate planning. A will is used to distribute the estate planner’s property and assets according to their wishes. Without a will, state laws control how the estate planner’s property and assets are distributed which may not be consistent with their wishes.
- Trust: a trust can be used along or in conjunction with a will. A trust can be used to determine how beneficiaries receive property and assets and can also be used to help avoid the probate process in some circumstances.
- Advance healthcare directive: an advance healthcare directive is used to specify the types of medical treatment and care the estate planner wishes to receive or does not want to receive. It can include life-saving treatments and care.
- Powers of attorney: powers of attorney can be used for medical and financial affairs to designate a trusted individual to direct the estate planner’s medical care or finances if they are unable to do so for themselves.
Knowing what to include in an estate plan is as important as having one. Everyone should have a comprehensive estate plan protecting them and their loved one which means knowing what documents to include in an estate plan and knowing what they do.