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What is included in an estate plan?

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2024 | Estate Planning

A lot of people put off estate planning because they think that it is a complex process and have no idea where to start. While estate planning is not exactly simple, it needn’t be that complicated either, especially if you do not have a vast amount of assets to take care of.

Let’s break it down to show you the key elements:

A will

You can use this to outline who you wish to leave which assets out of your estate. This can include both big items (such as investments and real estate) and small items (such as personal mementos). 

Powers of attorney

This gives someone the power to act on your behalf if needed. It’s something to cover things when you are seriously ill rather than dead. A classic example would be if you end up in a coma after a car crash. The person can step up and pay the mortgage and other bills from your bank account until you recover. That’s called a financial or legal power of attorney

A health care power of attorney is the other one to consider. It permits someone to communicate with doctors on your behalf, for example expressing your wishes as to whether you want to be kept alive while in a coma through intravenous feeding or just to let nature take its course.

An advanced heath care directive

This covers similar ground to the health care power of attorney, but it allows you to set out some of your choices in advance. It’s still wise to have a health care power of attorney in case there is a situation you had not thought of about which the doctors need an answer on.

A letter of instruction

This is not legally binding, but it can provide clarity for the executor and your loved ones. Consider outlining your funeral wishes and where to find the information needed to execute your estate.

Those are the basic blocks of an estate plan. There are many more options you can use to enhance it, but there is help available to find out more.