An “estate plan” is a package of documents, including a will, which states how you want your assets to be distributed in case of death or severe illness.
The advantage of an estate plan is you can make your own decisions, instead of a probate judge deciding based on government laws of distribution. The other advantage is peace of mind, because you are taking care of your loved ones as a special gift to them.
An estate plan includes a will, at the very least, and should also include powers of attorney for medical decisions and for financial decisions, in case you are unable to state your wishes. Other estate plan documents may include:
a trust or several trusts
guardianship papers for minor children
a “living will” detailing your specific preferences in case of severe mortal illness
a property ownership review, to scan for joint ownership and other property that are not covered by a will
a life insurance component
organ donation and burial instructions
It’s a good idea to schedule a routine review of your estate plan every few years to insure it stays up to date with your preferences, and with estate tax and/or capital gains legislation.
Don’t put this off! It’s the easiest thing in the world, and you’ll know you are providing the very best planning for your loved ones.
Word to the wise: Lots more about estates at www.LawCookies.com