The basic documents in an estate plan

California residents have plenty of options when it comes to crafting a comprehensive estate plan. In fact, for some people there can seem to be so many options that the variety and scope could be one of the reasons they put off this important task. However, understanding some of the basics documents in an estate plan could help put our readers at ease and help them get around to completing this necessary paperwork.

Estate plan basics

For starters, most estate plans include a will. This is a document which allows the estate planner to describe what, exactly, should be in the estate in question, who should receive portions of the estate or specific items in the estate and, if desired, include other special instructions. A will is typically the bedrock document of any comprehensive estate plan.

However, wills aren’t the only option for California residents to consider as the main focus of an estate plan. Trusts are another option. Establishing a trust allows planners to accomplish a variety of goals, depending on their needs. Some will want to manage real estate, others will want to minimize taxes. Still others may want to see to it that a family member with special needs has financial security. Trusts can be useful in a number of ways.

The other basic components of estate plans are power of attorney documents and an advanced health care directive. An advanced health care directive is a planner’s opportunity to put into writing his or her preferences about certain procedures or care instructions that can be called upon if the planner is incapacitated and unable to express certain wishes regarding health care. Power of attorney documents can appoint a specific person – or multiple people – to make financial or health care decisions for the planner in the event that the planner is incapacitated and unable to do so.