Everyone should make an estate plan at least once in their life, and update it gradually through the years.
When planning out your estate plan, you may need to consider what you include. Many of the following are, typically, seen in every estate plan:
1. A will
A will is a legal document that, generally, outlines who inherit from your estate. Your will may even outline how your funeral is conducted. Dying without a will, also called dying intestate, could cause problems for your family and friends. Typically, the state will handle all matters regarding your estate if you die intestate.
2. A trust
A will only provide your heirs with so much security, that’s why many people set up trusts. A trust is an arranged legal commitment that specifies exactly how and when assets are distributed to beneficiaries. Assets in a trust may avoid probate, court fees and taxes.
3. The executor of your estate
Your assets will be left unattended after you pass unless you set up an executor of an estate in your will. An executor handles your assets until they go through the probate process and are properly distributed to your heirs.
4. Child guardianship
Some people pass away, leaving their minor child without a parent or guardian. Testators may consider including a guardian in a will who will look after their child.
5. Powers of attorney
Your estate plan isn’t just about what happens to your assets when you die, but also what happens to you while you’re alive. You may have a power of attorney to handle any financial or medical decisions if you’re incapable of doing so because of an accident or medical condition.
Estate plans are complicated legal documents that often need guidance from experienced legal help.