Every estate plan will rely on several key pieces or tools. While the details you include in these tools will be slightly different depending on your circumstances, they will provide you and your estate with a broad array of protections and options. No two estate plans are ever identical, and while almost every plan will include these four pieces, your plan might require additional elements. You should never try to create a comprehensive estate plan until you have spoken with your estate planning lawyer, but until that time, here’s what you need to know about the key pieces.
Estate Plan in Rochester: 4 Key Pieces
1. Your Will
Your last will and testament, more simply known as your will, is the most basicestate planning tools you will create. Through your last will and testament you can make inheritance choices. As long as you remain mentally competent you can change these decisions whenever you like by updating or modifying your will. Your will also allows you to name a guardian for any minor children, as well as appoint an executor who will have the legal responsibility of managing your estate after you die.
2. Your Revocable Living Trust
Many people who speak to an estate planning lawyer don’t know what a revocable living trust is. They are often surprised to find out that the trust is actually the most important inheritance device they will create. Even though your will gives you the ability to grant inheritances, you will likely use your revocable living trust as your primary inheritance tool. Unlike a will, your revocable living trust gives you the ability to pass inheritances outside of the probate process.
3. Your Durable Power of Attorney
Beyond looking at what you want to happen after you die, your estate plan will also look at what you want to happen should you become incapacitated. Your durable power of attorney provides you with important protections should you lose the ability to make decisions or express yourself. Through your power of attorney you will appoint an agent, also called an attorney-in-fact, who will become your legal representative. Your agent will be able to make decisions for you when you cannot make them yourself.
4. Your Medical Directives
If you become incapacitated you will also want to make your medical decisions known to your health care provider. You do this by creating advance medical directives. These documents communicate your health care wishes when you are no longer able to communicate, or are otherwise incapacitated.