Have you ever heard your family, friends, or coworkers talking about their estate plan, but you weren’t exactly sure what they were talking about? An estate plan is a group of documents that you have drawn up (hopefully by an attorney) that expresses how you would like things handled in the event you become incapacitated or die. An estate plan is usually centered around a will or a trust, and it should also include, at a minimum, both a healthcare power of attorney and a durable power of attorney.
The main vehicle of your estate plan should be either a will or a trust. In these documents, you will make important decisions that will affect your family after your death. Your main focus when drafting theses documents will be who you want to take care of any minor children you may have, who you want to get your possessions after your death, and who you would want to be in charge of your affairs. These decisions can be a lengthy and stressful process, but these documents allow you to make those decisions. Without a will or trust, your family members may not know your wishes and those important decisions could be made by a judge.
In addition to a will or trust, you would certainly want to have a health care power of attorney and a durable power of attorney be a major part of your estate plan. These documents usually become effective when you become physically or mentally incapacitated, and they expire upon your full recovery or death. In the event you become incapacitated, these documents give the person you nominate the power to make decisions regarding your health care treatment, property, and finances.