Estate planning is an important part of everyone’s life and is important to do sooner rather than later. To help estate planners get starting with their estate plan, it is useful for them to know what documents to include in an estate plan.

An effective and comprehensive estate plan can include several different legal tools. Estate planning documents estate planners should consider as part of their estate plan include:

  • Will – A will states how the estate planner wants their assets and property to be distributed and who they want their assets and property to be distributed to. There are requirements for a will to be valid that estate planners should be familiar with.
  • Advance Healthcare Directive or Living Will – An advanced healthcare directive is a document that names a trusted family member or friend to handle the estate planner’s medical wishes for their medical treatment or care if they become incapacitated and are unable to do so for themselves.
  • Power of Attorney – A power of attorney document names a trusted family member or friend to handles the estate planner’s financial affairs if they are unable to do so for themselves at some point.
  • Trust – A trust is an estate planning tool that can either supplement or replace a will and can help the estate planner manager their estate during life. Trusts can also have tax and probate benefits to consider.

Estate planning is not a one-size-fits-all process which is why different estate planning tools are available for estate planners to be familiar with so they can develop an estate plan that is best for them.

Estate planning can provide those entering retirement, and others, with peace of mind that their wishes will be carried out. A complete overall estate plan ensures that the estate planner’s personal, financial and health wishes will be carried out according to their desires.