What is included in a good estate planning package?

Posted by Mark Van Horn, Esq.Dec 07, 20230 Comments

A comprehensive estate planning package typically includes a range of legal documents and services tailored to an individual's or family's unique needs and circumstances. Here's a list of key components that are commonly included in a good estate planning package:

  1. Last Will and Testament:

    • A foundational document that outlines how you want your assets to be distributed after your death.
    • Designates an executor to carry out your wishes and manages the probate process.
  2. Revocable Living Trust:

    • Allows you to transfer assets to a trust during your lifetime, specifying how they should be managed and distributed.
    • Can help avoid probate and provide for the management of assets in case of incapacity.
  3. Durable Power of Attorney:

    • Appoints someone to make financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
    • Grants authority to manage financial affairs, pay bills, and make investment decisions.
  4. Healthcare Power of Attorney (Healthcare Proxy):

    • Designates an individual to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
    • Outlines your preferences for medical treatment, including end-of-life decisions.
  5. Living Will (Advance Healthcare Directive):

    • Expresses your wishes regarding life-sustaining medical treatments in the event of a terminal illness or persistent vegetative state.
    • Guides healthcare professionals and your healthcare agent in making decisions consistent with your values.
  6. Beneficiary Designations:

    • Ensures that assets with designated beneficiaries (e.g., life insurance policies, retirement accounts) are distributed according to your wishes.
    • Coordinates with the overall estate plan to avoid conflicts and ensure consistency.
  7. Guardianship Designations:

    • Names a guardian for minor children in the event of the parents' death or incapacity.
    • Ensures that the appointed guardian aligns with your values and parenting philosophies.
  8. Letter of Intent:

    • Provides detailed guidance to your executor, trustee, or guardian regarding your preferences, values, and any specific instructions not covered in legal documents.
  9. Business Succession Planning (if applicable):

    • Outlines a plan for the transfer or sale of a family business to ensure its continuity.
    • Addresses how ownership will be passed to heirs or successors.
  10. Asset Inventory and Information:

    • A comprehensive list of your assets, including real estate, bank accounts, investments, and personal property.
    • Helps streamline the probate process and ensures that all assets are accounted for.
  11. Estate Tax Planning (if applicable):

    • Strategies to minimize estate taxes and maximize the value passed on to beneficiaries.
    • In-depth analysis of the potential tax implications of your estate.
  12. Review and Updating Procedures:

    • A plan for regular review and updating of your estate plan to ensure it reflects any changes in your life, family, or financial situation.

It's important to note that estate planning is highly individualized, and the specific components of a package may vary based on factors such as the size of the estate, family dynamics, and unique goals. Consulting with Van Horn Law is crucial to creating a package that meets your specific needs and provides a solid foundation for the future!