Estate planning is an important consideration many of us may not want to consider but can provide essential peace of mind to both the estate planner and their family. Part of that peace of mind comes from knowing that an effective estate plan helps ensure the wishes of the estate planner are honored and carried out and that family members and loved ones are properly cared for according to their wishes.
An effective estate plan allows the estate planner to determine how they want their affairs to be handled, including real estate, retirement accounts, financial investments or a family business, rather than having the court and state laws decide. There are several different components of a comprehensive estate plan that requires drafting and legally and validly executing several different types of documents. The process does not have to be intimidating and there are a variety of estate planning tools available that can be used in a way that meets the needs and wishes of the individual estate planner.
Components of an effective estate plan begin with a valid will and can include trusts, of which different types are available based on the goals of the party establishing the trust; a living will; an advance healthcare directive; and a power of attorney designation. The estate planner will also need to name an administrator for their estate and a trustee if they establish a trust. If the estate planner has a business, it is important they lay out the succession plan for the business.
Estate planning is a useful resource that can help avoid unintended consequences that may otherwise occur under state laws and can also help avoid disputes the estate planner's family may have. Once an estate plan is carefully laid out, the estate planner can rest assured they wishes will be honored and their family will be provided for.