Items to Include in Your Estate Plan

Thinking about important decisions regarding the security of your estate and healthcare needs is something many people tend to put off for years. However, an estate plan can be beneficial to people of various levels of income, not just the wealthy. The earlier you get started in putting together the legal documents necessary for your estate, the better off you and your family will be. Estate planning can be an overwhelming process, and you might not know where exactly to begin. As a competent and respected estate attorney can further explain, everyone approaches an estate plan differently, but there are several main items people often include in their plan:

  • Will. A will is one of the most common items that many people think of when they are planning the distribution of their assets. Wills are important even for those with minimal assets, as it allows you to dictate how you want your assets handled after your passing. When you are writing a will, be sure to name specific individuals to avoid confusion or legal challenges from relatives.
  • Living Will. A lot of people tend to confuse the terms will and living will, but they have very different functions. A living will pertains to how you want future decisions regarding your healthcare to be decided, if you ever become incapacitated and are unable to communicate decisions for yourself. 
  • Power of Attorney. Powers of attorney come in different forms, such as healthcare power of attorney or durable power of attorney, and allow you to name individuals who have the authority to make decisions on your behalf. This prevents the government from making decisions that may go against your preferences. 
  • Named Beneficiaries. You may want to name who your beneficiaries will be so that your property and wealth will be passed down to the right individuals. It keeps other individuals and the government from improperly accessing and managing your assets and finances. 

Lawyers would advise their clients to be as detailed as possible when crafting their estate plan, and that they include a variety of legal forms for a comprehensive plan. You want to make sure that your documents reflect the things that matter to you, and that your needs and wishes are clearly articulated so the government or other parties do not act in a manner that goes against your values and beliefs. For legal assistance focused on estate planning, contact a lawyer who can provide you with customized support.