Keep Your Family’s Future Secure

Key elements to include in an estate plan

On Behalf of | May 30, 2023 | Estate Planning

An estate plan goes beyond a simple will; it is a comprehensive strategy for managing personal affairs and distributing assets after death. While death is an unpleasant topic, having an estate plan can ensure that individuals have peace of mind knowing people will honor their wishes and care for their loved ones.

An estate plan offers a roadmap for what should happen to an individual’s assets, debts and personal responsibilities. It can help to avoid unnecessary disputes, confusion and stress for the family left behind.

Important documents

A will serves as the cornerstone of an estate plan. It outlines who will receive an individual’s assets and possessions after death. A will also typically names an executor who will oversee the distribution of assets.

A living will, or an advance healthcare directive, spells out an individual’s wishes regarding medical care if they become unable to make their own decisions. This document can guide family members and healthcare providers in making decisions about end-of-life care or critical medical interventions.

Named beneficiaries

Within an estate plan, it is important to name beneficiaries for assets. These may include bank accounts, retirement plans and life insurance policies. Designating beneficiaries can help to avoid probate, a lengthy and potentially costly legal process.

Durable power of attorney

A durable power of attorney designates someone to act on an individual’s behalf if they become unable to handle their own affairs. This can cover financial decisions, such as handling banking transactions and investing money, or personal ones like making healthcare decisions.

A trust

Establishing a trust can provide more control over asset distribution than a will. A trust can set conditions on when and how beneficiaries receive assets. For instance, a trust could stipulate that children only receive their inheritance when they reach a certain age or achieve a certain goal, like graduating from college.

Having an estate plan in place is a significant step towards ensuring a legacy and providing for the future.