Do I need anything more than a will in my estate plan?

This blog has recently discussed the importance of having a will which is an essential cornerstone of the estate planning process and an overall estate plan. Estate planners may wonder what else, if anything, they should include in an effective overall estate plan.

There are several different types of documents estate planners should include in an estate plan. Because a will is used to distribute the estate planner’s property and assets, it is important for the will to be valid and for estate planners to know what makes an estate plan valid in their state. A trust is another estate planning tool that estate planners can use to help avoid the probate process and for other purposes as well.

Also, to help plan for incapacity, estate planners should include an advance healthcare directive and power of attorney in their estate plan during the estate planning process. An advance healthcare directive can designate a trusted individual to direct the estate planner’s medical care and treatment if they are unable to do so for themselves at any point because of incapacity. Likewise, a power of attorney document can be used to designate a trusted individual to direct the estate planner’s financial affairs if they are unable to do so due to incapacity.

A thorough estate plan can help estate planners achieve peace of mind for themselves and their families because those important decisions will be made and they know their loved ones will not have to make them during a difficult time and will be cared for following their loss. Familiarity with estate planning documents, and how to have a complete estate plan, is valuable information for estate planners to have to avoid problems and uncertainties during challenging times.