Estate planning is something that everyone should consider sooner rather than later. To develop an effective estate plan, it is helpful to be familiar with what should be included in a comprehensive estate plan.

The legal process provides a variety of different estate planning tools it is helpful to be familiar with:

  • Will – an important foundation of an estate plan is having a valid will that expresses the estate planner’s wishes for how their estate should be distributed and how their property should be disposed of. A will also names an executor to administer the estate and carry out the estate planner’s wishes and a will can also include a guardian for minor children.
  • Trust – a trust is another important estate planning tool that can be used along with a will or alone in place of a will. A living trust can be set up to help avoid the time-consuming and sometimes costly probate process that will allow property and assets to be distributed more quickly. A living trust can also be revoked by the estate planner.
  • Advance medical directive – an advance medical directive, sometimes called a living will or advance healthcare directive, designates a trusted person or loved one who can direct the estate planner’s medical care and treatment if the estate planner becomes incapacitated at some point and is unable to do direct their medical treatment for themselves.
  • Power of attorney – a power of attorney, similar to an advance medical directive, can designate a trusted person or loved one who can direct the estate planner’s financial affairs if the estate planner becomes incapacitated at some point and is unable to direct their financial affairs for themselves.

Other documents can also be useful when estate planning and estate planners should determine which combination of estate planning tools and documents will best achieve their goals for their estate plan. Familiarity with estate planning documents can help get estate planners going planning for the future of their loved ones and ensuring they will be taken care of.