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Estate planning — it’s more than wills

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2020 | Estate Planning

Making a plan for the future is important, and creating an estate plan is just one part of that. This is why some people in Lake Charles are proactive when it comes to creating wills. But estate planning can — and often should — involve much more. Here are just a few components that can help round out a comprehensive estate plan.

An estate plan should address two things, the first being how a person’s assets be distributed upon his or her death. It should also include instructions for medical and financial decisions should someone be unable to handle these on his or her own. A will might be enough for dealing with assets after death, although it can certainly fall short in certain areas. Having a will alone is also not enough to handle important decisions regarding health care and money.

Revocable trusts are good companions for wills. A living trust is one that can be changed and even revoked during a person’s lifetime, and it is used to hold and manage his or her assets during life and even after death. These trusts can then distribute those assets to heirs and can simplify the probate process. Trusts don’t stand on their own, though, so things like funeral wishes are typically addressed in wills and/or a separate writing that specifies the individual’s wishes for burial and funeral services.

Durable powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney and living wills are also essential when it comes to thinking about the future. This trio of documents ensures that a person’s financial and medical well-being will always be protected. The person named in a durable power of attorney can manage finances on another’s behalf, including doing things like paying bills. The individual named in the health care power of attorney will make important medical decisions according to wishes outlined in the living will.

Estate plans should consist of multiple documents, including wills and powers of attorney. This may come as a surprise to those who have only learned about wills. Trying to revisit estate planning to incorporate these other documents can be understandably overwhelming, so it may be helpful to speak with an experienced Lake Charles attorney before setting out on this journey.