Rules and requirements concerning estate planning can vary by state which is why it is always helpful to understand the rules and requirements in the estate planner's state but there are several documents that form the basis of an effective estate plan. The estate planning documents, or tools, estate planners may wish to consider can be utilized in a manner that fits the estate planner's needs and wishes for their overall estate plan.
Estate planning documents estate planners should include in their estate plan includes first a validly-executed will. A will lays out how an estate planner wants their assets and property to be distributed and ensures those wishes are followed and that an estate planner's beneficiaries are cared for. A living trust or other trust option may also compliment an overall estate plan and can provide some advantages estate planners and their families should be familiar with.
In addition, estate planners should have a power of attorney to designate how they want their financial affairs to be handled should they become incapacitated. An advanced healthcare directive can also provide similar protection and direction concerning the estate planner's wishes for medical care and treatment should they become incapacitated. A HIPAA release form can also be helpful to family members.
Having an effective estate plan can help family members in a variety of ways and reduce conflicts families may face associated with the loved one's care or how assets should be distributed. Estate planners should also be familiar with the probate process and understand what to expect from it and how estate planning resources can help.