Knowing what to include in an estate plan is important information to have and is as important as having an estate plan itself. No two estate plans are the same so it is essential for estate planners to know how to use estate planning tools to help develop the best estate plan for them to protect their interests and accomplish their wishes.
To begin with, an estate plan should include a valid will. A will directs how the estate planner wants their assets and property to be distributed. It also designates their beneficiaries. In addition, a trust can be used alongside a will to transfer assets and can be used as a tool to avoid the costly and time-consuming probate process. A trust can also be used in place of a will in some circumstances.
Additional estate planning documents should include documents to help plan for the estate planner’s incapacity. An advance healthcare directive, or living will, can dictate what healthcare and treatment the estate planner wishes to have or which forms of healthcare and treatment the estate planner wishes to forgo. In addition, a durable power of attorney can designate a trusted individual to direct their financial affairs of the estate planner if they are incapacitated and unable to do so for themselves.
Estate planning is an important process that estate planners need to be familiar with. Familiarity with the estate planning process includes familiarity with the different documents to include in a comprehensive estate plan to achieve the goals of the estate planner for their estate.