Common Tools Used In Estate Planning

Estate planning involves many different tasks. From listing your assets, filling out legal paperwork, and planning end of life care, there are many elements in an estate plan that must be considered. There is no one single way to approach building an estate plan, but how you create yours is dependent on your unique preferences and needs. The size of your estate, type of assets and whether you have heirs are just a few of the factors that can determine what is included in your estate plan. For personalized legal advice, you can obtain more information from an experienced lawyer. Some of the common tools that many people use when they make an estate plan include the following items.

Last Will and Testament 

The last will, or will, is the item that many people associate the most with an estate plan. Your will contains a deceased person’s wishes regarding their estate, such as what they plan to transfer to their beneficiaries. A last will and testament should include the person authorized to execute the will, legal guardians, as well as the names of the people that they want to pass down their assets to. It should also be signed by you as the person who is writing the will.


Trusts are another type of valuable estate planning tool. They offer a lot of flexibility for people who are looking to transfer their assets to their beneficiaries. Trusts can be revocable, irrevocable, living, or testamentary. Some  trusts like revocable trusts, can be changed or modified by the grantor during their lifetime or after. In contrast, irrevocable trusts require permission by the beneficiary to be changed.

Power Of Attorney 

A financial or health power of attorney is a document that allows a designated individual to carry out decisions in case you are incapacitated. The power of attorney has the authority to carry out decisions in specific scenarios if you are not able to communicate. For example, a financial power of attorney can make financial decisions on your behalf if you suffer a stroke and are unconscious in the hospital.


Beneficiaries should be designated in an estate plan. If you have any loved ones that you want to pass parts of your estate to, then you need to name them in your estate plan. If you do not name them, then it may take a much longer time for them to obtain your assets. The assets will be subject to the probate process, which can take months to complete. It can also lead to disputes within the family, especially if there are family members who feel entitled to part of your estate.

Living Will

As an experienced estate planning lawyer like one from Kaplan Law Practice, LLC can tell you more about, a living will is a legal document that explains the types of life-saving and life-sustaining medical care and treatments that you want to receive. This includes the type of medication you will be on, surgical procedures, and mental health care. Family members will want to know how to maintain your quality of life, so you should discuss your medical needs and preferences with them as you write your living will.

If you need more information about estate planning, schedule a consultation with a lawyer that you can trust right away.