4 Essential Components of an Estate Plan


Learning the Necessary Parts

Estate planning can seem like a complex process with the various components that should be included. When preparing your estate plan, there are four components you absolutely need to have as a part of your complete plan. Here are the four parts you should be sure to include.

#1: A Will

A will is perhaps the document that most people tend to associate with estate planning and serves as a means of distributing your assets upon your passing. A will must go through probate in order to take effect, and this process can be lengthy at times.

A will is necessary to estate planning; dying without a will means that your assets will be distributed according to California’s intestate succession rules. If you want to be sure that your assets will be divided how you would wish, you should be sure to include a will in your estate plan.

#2: A Living Trust

Also known as a revocable trust, a living trust acts in a way similar to that of a will in that assets would be passed down to named beneficiaries upon your passing. However, it is different in that the person who created the trust is the initial trustee who oversees those assets for the beneficiaries; in addition, a living trust can be changed without having to go to court and get those changes approved.

Many people like to have both a will and living trust concurrently so that any property that was not included in the trust can still be passed down to who they wish.

#3: Durable Power of Attorney

In the event that you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions for yourself, you will likely want someone to be in charge of your financial decisions. Having a durable power of attorney allows you to name a person who would be given that power should something happen to you.

#4: Advanced Healthcare Directive

Sometimes referred to as medical power of attorney, this portion of an estate plan gives a named person the responsibility of making medical-related decisions on your behalf. Similar to a general power of attorney, this is only carried out if you are incapacitated and unable to make medical decisions.

An advanced healthcare directive can also be used to outline your wishes in the event that you become incapacitated and are faced with a life-threatening illness and require specific care. You can outline whether or not you want to receive certain treatments to try and sustain your life.

Work with an Attorney

Because of the complicated nature of estate planning and the various documents required to build a complete plan, it’s important to work with an attorney with the knowledge of estate planning necessary to help you meet your needs. At Schweitzer Law Partners, our team is committed to helping you build an estate plan complete with these essential parts in order to protect your assets and your family’s future.

To learn more about our estate planning services or to speak with an attorney, call us at (626) 788-5225 or visit us online.