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The basics, and importance, of effective estate planning

Estate planning may sometimes seem like an intimidating concept to families. In reality, estate planning involves several important estate planning tools, or types of documents, and the important considerations many families already have on their minds. While there are several important elements to an effective estate plan, estate plans are uniquely tailored to the unique needs of each individual setting up or maintaining an existing estate plan.

While not all of the different types of documents or estate planning tools may be required in each circumstance, there are several different types of documents individuals may or may not be familiar with which are commonly part of an estate plan. In the most basic sense, wills help to document how an individual wishes certain assets to be distributed. In addition to a will, a trust can be an effective tool that allows an individual greater flexibility with assets and may provide probate and tax advantages and benefits.

A power of attorney document can be useful in a number of important situations. In the context of the estate planning process, it can be essential to planning for incapacity should the need arise. In addition, a living will, or advance healthcare directive, can be an important estate planning tool to express wishes concerning medical treatment and emergency and life-saving medical care preferences.

It is important for individuals to develop an effective estate plan that addresses their individual situation and concerns and to maintain their estate plan as circumstances change. Several important estate planning tools and documents, and the important considerations they contain, provide the basis for an effective estate plan which may provide peace of mind for a number of families.

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