What estate planning documents should be in my estate plan?

There are a variety of estate planning documents that estate planners should consider when setting up their plan. Estate planners should make sure they understand all of the different estate planning tools so they can develop the best estate plan for them and their situation.

Estate planning can help estate planners have the assurance they need that their estate will be distributed according to their wishes and can also help minimize conflict, confusion and concerns family members may have. A valid will is the foundational basis of an estate plan and should always be included. In addition, a living trust is a helpful tool. Both can be used to transfer assets but in some circumstances it may be easier to transfer assets via a living trust.

In addition, estate planners should include an advance healthcare directive or living will as part of their estate plan. An advance healthcare directive provides guidance concerning medical care and treatment the estate planner wants if they become incapacitated and are unable to direct their own medical care and treatment. A power of attorney should also be included as part of an overall estate plan to provide instructions concerning the estate planner's financial affairs. A HIPAA release form is also helpful to include as part of a complete estate plan.

Estate planning is important which is why familiarity with estate planning documents is also important. Having an estate plan in place that addresses all of the estate planner's concerns is valuable because it can help ease anxiety for both estate planners and their family members.

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