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Critical estate planning components

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2024 | Estate Planning

A comprehensive estate plan can – among other things – help your loved ones to handle your affairs according to your wishes after you pass away. Estate planning can serve as a way that you can make your wishes known to them in a manner that can be upheld by the probate court if necessary. You can also use this effort to minimize taxes, estate risks and other factors that could have a negative effect on what your loved ones receive after your death.

While estate planning might seem like a complex undertaking, you can break it down into key components to simplify the process. It may also be beneficial to work with a legal representative who can help to ensure you have everything covered.


The will should likely serve as the cornerstone of your estate. It can outline how to handle simple assets. You can also designate guardians for your minor children. If you don’t create an estate plan, the state’s intestacy laws will go into effect to dictate how your assets are handled. The court will determine who should raise your children. These may not align with your wishes, so it’s best to get this handled as quickly as possible.


Trusts give you more control over how your assets are distributed. There are several types of trusts, which are classified as either revocable or irrevocable. A revocable trust allows you to retain control over your assets during your lifetime. An irrevocable trust transfers control to a trustee but offers more robust protection from taxes and creditors.

Powers of attorney

Power of attorney designations are important if you become incapacitated because they allow you to decide who will make decisions on your behalf. A financial power of attorney allows a designated person to make financial decisions on your behalf, while a healthcare power of attorney enables someone to make medical decisions for you.

Advanced directives

An advanced directives outlines your preferences for medical treatment if you become terminally ill or incapacitated. These documents can specify which life-sustaining treatments you do or don’t want.

A comprehensive estate plan gives your loved ones instructions about your wishes. Ensuring that the documents that comprise your plan are enforceable, comprehensive and accurately reflect your wishes is key.