An estate plan can be as complex or as simple as you prefer.
However, the more detailed you are in your estate plan, the easier the process is for your family after you pass.
Plans you should include
There are at least five things you should consider including in your estate plan:
- Your final will and testament. Here you can name guardians for children and pets, recipients of assets and an executor.
- A revocable living trust. This allows you to transfer your property into a trust and name a trustee to manage it after you pass.
- You can assign beneficiaries to your non-probate assets, such as life insurance policies and pensions.
- Power of attorney. Choose the person or entity you want to make financial decisions.
- Health care directive. List your medical care wishes and name a medical power of attorney.
Most people choose to leave specific funeral and burial instructions. You can detail such matters as thoroughly as you like.
Documents you should include
You should also provide copies of important documents in your estate plan. For example, you can include:
- Insurance documentation, including for life, health, car and home policies
- Proof of identity, including birth and marriage certificates, Social Security card and any legal agreements
- Documents showing proof of ownership for assets, such as property deeds and titles
- A list of digital login and password information relevant to online accounts
There is no limit to how thorough you can be when creating your estate plan. In general, if you have many assets, your estate plan should contain more details.