These tools can help jump start estate planning

A well-thought-out estate plan can cover a number of important topics. While many Georgia residents may immediately think about their assets and using a will to say who gets what, it is crucial that individuals understand that estate planning goes far beyond that one topic and one document. In fact, to create a comprehensive plan, parties may want to think about instructions that could apply while they are still living.

It is a common misconception that estate plans only address events that take place after a person’s passing, like distributing assets. However, these plans can also explain what type of medical care a person wants in the event of an incapacitating or likely terminal situation and who should be in charge of making important decisions on the individual’s behalf. Fortunately, there are many estate planning tools that can help leave clear instructions for loved ones.

To cover important basics, it may be worthwhile to consider using these four planning tools as a starting point:

  • Will: A will is commonly the first document that comes to many people’s minds, and it is a critical component to any estate plan as it can leave instructions about asset distribution, guardianship for minor children and executor appointment.
  • Advance medical directive: This directive allows a person to provide instructions on the type of care he or she wants in the event that the individual becomes incapacitated and cannot express those wishes in the moment.
  • Durable power of attorney: A power of attorney document allows for the appointment of a person to make vital financial decisions on behalf of an incapacitated individual.
  • Revocable trust: A person can use a revocable trust to leave specific instructions about property distribution, and a revocable trust can be changed by the grantor if he or she sees fit.

Again, these four estate planning tools are only examples of places to start when creating a plan. Georgia residents each have unique needs and desires when it comes to their end-of-life and after-life wishes, so the exact tools a person uses will differ. If individuals are interested in gaining more information about these and other planning options, they may wish to utilize local legal resources for reliable insight.