Estate Planning Awareness WeekEstate Planning Awareness

Estate Planning is a vital component in a complete financial plan. Unfortunately, many overlook it. They think they have plenty of time to complete it in the future, or they do not have enough money. However, failing to put a proper estate plan in place can cost your heirs a lot of money and hardship. In honor of Estate Planning Awareness Week, we compiled a list of 4 of the most vital documents that you need for a complete estate plan.

Living Trust

Many have the misconception that living trusts are only for the rich. Others think that a Last Will and Testament is all that they need. AWill is a very good document to have and works well in conjunction with a trust. But alone it does not make up a complete estate plan. A trust will provide you with several benefits that a Last Will cannot. First, of which, a trust will help you to avoid probate. This means that your descendants will not have to go through the expense and red tape of probating an estate. Second, a trust gives you a lot of control. You can choose to give the inheritance outright, have an age-specific delay, or put the inheritance into another trust that will prevent your beneficiaries from squandering all their money. The options you have are practically limitless.

Pour-Over Will

Even if you have a living trust set up, it is important to have a Pour-Over Will. This will act as a failsafe, in case there were assets that you never titled into your trust. The purpose of a Pour-Over Will is to grant all of your assets that end up having to go through probate to your trust. They then will be distributed to your heirs per the instructions set out in the trust.


Financial Power of Attorney

This document will give you the ability to appoint someone to take care of your financial needs if your health greatly deteriorates. This is a protection for you because it allows your agent to take care of your needs when you are not able to. This way your bills can get paid and other important financial matters can be attended to. If you do not have this document it can leave your financial matters to in neglect, which can wreak havoc on your situation.

Health Care Power of Attorney

These are other documents that are important to have set in place. They will outline the health care choices that you. These documents also appoint an agent to make health care decisions when you are not able to. It is important to note that your agent is not given complete control, the decisions they make must be made along with the instructions that you outlined in your documents.

Mental Health Care Power of Attorney

This document is less well-known. It will outline the powers that you wish to grant your agent. These powers include granting permission to see your medical records, approve the administration of medication, and the power to put you into a facility that offers 24/7 care. All of these are optional, and it is up to you to grant the powers.

Living Will

Not to be confused with a Last Will and Testament, this is another type of healthcare document. A Living Will is going to outline the type of care that you wish to receive when you have reached the end of your life. You have the power to lay out your wishes for care for your agent to carry out. This can range from being kept alive as long as possible to only being given medication to provide you comfort until you pass away.

Final Disposition Instructions

This document will leave instructions on how you would like your remains to be taken care of. It outlines any late life planning you have done and any funeral services that you desire, or that you have prepaid for.

Raise Your Estate Planning Awareness

Starting down the path to an estate plan may seem overwhelming. Now that your estate planning awareness is raised now is time to get the process started. But with the proper help to guide you through the process, you can find yourself with ease of mind, knowing that all of your affairs are in order.

Interested in learning more? Ready to start on an estate plan yourself? Find out more at: