If you are preparing to go through the estate planning process, you may be wondering what you actually need to create a solid estate plan that will fit your goals. A will keeps coming to mind, but is it enough? Will it, on its own, offer the protections you want for yourself, your family and your assets? The truth is that it might not.
Creating a will is a good place for any California resident to start the estate planning process. It is an essential document as it holds a lot of information about your wants and wishes, but it may not cover everything.
What a will does
In your will, you can name your beneficiaries and state specifically how you want your assets dispersed among them. You can also leave final thoughts for your loved ones. It essentially provides written directions for how you want your estate handled after your death. It does not protect you in the event of incapacitation and it does not offer any tax benefits.
What else do I need?
An estate plan really should be more comprehensive. It should protect you in the event anything happens to you and leaves you unable to care for yourself. It should also give instructions for how your executor should handle your estate in the event of your death. A solid estate plan will include a will along with some of the following legal documents:
- Healthcare power of attorney
- Financial power of attorney
- Advance directives
You may even find a trust beneficial depending on what you are trying to achieve with your estate plan.
How do I know my estate plan is sufficient for my needs?
If you are not completely familiar with all of the estate planning products out there, it can be difficult to know if you are choosing the right ones for your needs. The only way to know that you are getting an estate plan that covers everything is by getting help from a qualified individual when creating it.
The estate planning process can take time and may seem rather intimidating at first. Legal counsel can make the whole process seem rather painless and make sure you walk away with a will and other estate planning documents drafted specifically to offer the protections you desire.