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3 matters people generally need to address in an estate plan

On Behalf of | May 17, 2024 | Estate Planning

An estate plan is a collection of documents that convey someone’s wishes to others in scenarios where they become incapable of doing so. Estate plans can be as simple as a single document. People draft wills and nothing else in some cases.

Other times, testators create a variety of different documents in an effort to provide robust protection for themselves and their closest family members. Someone sitting down to establish a new estate plan or make changes to an existing one typically needs to address at least the three issues below.

The care of dependents

Many people have spouses or children who rely on them for practical matters and financial support. Other people may not have family that relies on them but could have pets that would be vulnerable if they died unexpectedly. It is often concern about those dependents that prompt someone to create an estate plan. Estate planning documents can name guardians for minor children, provide resources for spouses and arrange for the care of companion animals after someone dies.

The distribution of property

For many people, estate planning is synonymous with providing instructions about property distribution after they die. The main focus of many wills and trusts is to control what happens to an individual’s resources after their death. Any assets in an individual’s name when they die become the property of their estate. Depending on the extent of someone’s property and the type of relationships they have established, they may have numerous beneficiaries that they want to leave assets with emotional or financial value to after they die. Estate planning helps someone control their legacy.

The need for support in an emergency

Estate plans can include documents that have legal authority while someone is still alive. Powers of attorney and advance directives are among the documents that people might add to a comprehensive estate plan. Those documents can provide clarity about an individual’s wishes regarding their medical care. They can also name someone that they trust to pay their bills or oversee their medical treatment.

Thinking carefully about personal needs and risk factors can help people create estate plans that effectively protect them and the people they love. Testators who establish thorough estate plans can feel confident about their protection and the safety of their dependents.