Estate planners should know what to include in a comprehensive estate plan. They may feel overwhelmed and wonder what to do at the beginning but many estate planning tools are available so they can customize the best estate plan for them.
Documents to include in a comprehensive estate plan
Estate planning is not a cookie cutter process and some of the customizable options that should be included in an estate plan are:
- A will document – a will is used to outline what the estate planner wants done with their assets. A will allows the estate planner to name who they would like to receive specific assets in their estate. The will allows the estate planner to leave their possessions to family and friends. Because of that, will should be updated following major life changes or when the estate planner’s assts change.
- A trust – a trust is a legal entity the estate planner sets up that owns the estate planner’s assets and controls them based on the estate planner’s wishes outlined in the trust documents. A trust can be in place during the estate planner’s life or at death.
- Healthcare power of attorney and living will – a healthcare power of attorney is used to name someone as a healthcare decision-maker for the estate planner if they cannot make healthcare decisions for themselves. A living will, also referred to as an advance healthcare directive, can outline the estate planner’s medical wishes if they become incapacitated, terminally ill or are unable to communicate their healthcare wishes. It can outline the estate planner’s wishes related to life support and life-sustaining medical interventions.
- Financial power of attorney – a financial power of attorney outlines who the estate planner wants to make their financial decisions if they become incapacitated. This document will give the person designated in it the authority to handle bill-paying, investment decisions or other financial matters for the estate planner.
It is bests to create all of these documents at the same time as part of a complete estate plan. There are several documents to include in an estate plan so estate planners should know what they are in order to develop the best estate plan for them.