Estate plans can take a variety of shapes. Some estate plans are small and simple. Other estate plans are large and contain many complex legal instruments. However, there are a few things every single estate plan needs to have.
Recently, the Catholic Register discussed what is necessary for all Canadian estate plans in "The must-haves of estate planning." In the U.S. most of the same things are also necessary. They include:
- Someone needs to be appointed as the executor of your will. Even if the primary instrument to distribute your property is a trust, your plan should still include a pour-over will for which you need to appoint someone trustworthy as an executor.
- Your estate plan needs to include some basic tax planning, especially if you live in a state that has an estate tax of its own.
- If you have any dependents, then your estate plan needs to provide for their care. While you have some flexibility in your estate, you cannot simply disinherit a spouse or a minor child.
- Your estate plan should also include powers of attorney so you can appoint someone to look after your interests if you become incapacitated.
If you have an experienced estate planning attorney create your estate plan, then it will contain all of these things and much more that will make your estate plan as effective as it can possibly be.
Reference: Catholic Register (Nov. 6, 2016) "The must-haves of estate planning."