Common Estate Planning Questions

What is an estate plan?

Everyone has an estate, and it is comprised of everything you own – car, home, bank accounts, investments, life insurance and personal possessions. No matter how large or small, we all have something in common – you can’t take your possessions with you when you die. Most people think of an estate plan as how and to whom your estate will be distributed after your death, but an estate plan also includes documents that are used during life.

What documents are included in an estate plan?

Other documents may be used in an estate plan as needed, but these are the most common:

  • Last Will and Testament:This document states how you want your estate to be distributed after your death. If you have minor age children, this is where you will name who you want to raise your children as well.
  • General Durable Power of Attorney: This document names who you want to act as your legal agent, also called the attorney-in-fact, in financial and legal matters. You are giving your attorney-in-fact the authority to act on your behalf.
  • Health Care Power of Attorney: With this you select who will make medical decisions if you cannot.
  • Living Will: States your wishes for artificial life prolongation in the event of terminal illness.  

How do I get an estate plan?

The easiest way to set up an estate plan is to visit with an estate planning attorney. The attorney will draft documents based on your situation and will make sure they coordinate with state law. Be sure to note special situations, such as blended families or special needs children acquire the services of an experienced estate planning attorney to avoid unintended consequences.

Content Prepared by Elizabeth Braden, CFP® from Worley Erhart-Graves Financial Advisors