Estate planning tools are available to help estate planners at every age and in every situation develop the estate plan that is right for them. For that reason, estate planners of all types should be familiar with the basic documents to include in their estate plan.
Documents to include in an estate plan
Some of the documents to include in an estate plan are:
- Will: a will can be used to help ensure the estate planner’s loved ones, children and pets are looked after and their best interest are accounted for. The estate planner can decide what will happen to possessions of financial or sentimental value. The will can also be used to name an executor or guardian.
- Revocable living trust: a living trust can be used to pass assets in a manner that can avoid the expensive and time consuming probate process. A trustee is named to help manage the estate planner’s property. Trusts can also provide tax savings and can be used to distribute property now or later.
- Durable power of attorney: a durable power of attorney designates someone who can make financial and legal decisions for the estate planner. This is important to take care of if the estate planner becomes incapacitated.
- Healthcare power of attorney and living will: a healthcare power of attorney designates someone who can make healthcare decisions for the estate planner if they become incapacitated. A living will is used to record the types of medical care and treatment the estate planner wants or does not want if they unable to communicate this later.
- Beneficiary designations: beneficiary designations on a life insurance policy, retirement account or bank account will override a designation in a will so they need to be kept up to date.
There are some other types of documents it can also be helpful to include in an estate plan that estate planners should be familiar with. Estate planning is an important process for everyone to be familiar with so they know how to set up an estate plan that is best for them and their family.