What is an Estate Plan?

An estate plan is a collection of one or more documents that give instructions related to your death and the disposition of your estate after your death. 

What documents are part of an Estate Plan?

A Will is the central piece of an Estate plan and everyone should have a Will. 

An estate plan may also include other documents, if appropriate for the circumstances. In addition to a Will, an estate plan may also include a trust and/or a Living Will, Power of Attorney, and a HIPAA Authorization that relate to what happens when you are still living but unable to make decisions for yourself.

Who should have an Estate Plan?

Everyone should have a Will as part of their estate plan. Estate planning is not something limited to the ultra wealthy, and there is no reason to delay creating an estate plan just because you are young. Estate planning lets you make decisions that have a real impact on you and your loved ones. 

Why have an Estate Plan?

The fundamental purposes of estate planning relate to the decisions that apply to nearly everyone, regardless of wealth or assets. An estate plan lets you direct the disposition of assets after your death, including making specific gifts to show your love, affection, or support to certain individuals and charities.  

An estate plan also lets you nominate Guardians to take care of your children and Executors to handle the administration of your estate. These are all critical decisions that should be made by everyone, regardless of wealth levels.

An estate plan may also let you nominate someone to make decisions for you if you are unable to do so or let you express instructions about your own healthcare and medical treatments so your preferences can be carried out even if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
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