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The basics of what to include in an effective estate plan

It is important for estate planners to have all of the necessary documents that are part of a comprehensive estate plan to ensure they are properly protected and that their estate plan properly accounts for their wishes. Estate plans can ensure that loved ones are cared for and looked after and provide peace of mind for estate planners that their wishes will be honored.

In addition, an effective estate plan also provides for circumstances when an estate planner cannot speak for themselves concerning their wishes for their medical care and treatment or cannot conduct their own financial affairs. Estate planning documents including an advanced healthcare directive, sometimes called a living will, and a power or attorney can ensure that the estate planner's wishes for their medical care and treatment will be carried out and that their financial affairs are handled by someone they trust if they become incapacitated at some point.

Other important components of an estate plan include a will and a living trust. A valid will is a cornerstone of any effective estate plan, however, an estate plan is not complete with a will alone. There are different requirements in every state, though the basic requirements are usually similar, for a will to be valid so it is helpful for estate planners to be familiar with the requirements in their state to ensure they enjoy the protection of a valid will as part of their estate plan.

Estate planning is often something that people put off for a variety of reasons but having a carefully considered estate plan can help estate planners rest easy. Knowing what to include in an estate plan and ensuring it meets the unique needs of the estate planner can help estate planners develop an overall estate plan that is best for them.

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