Having an estate plan in place is very important. A proper estate plan not only ensures that your wishes are carried out after you are not living, but also ensures that your intentions are known and respected during your lifetime. Appropriate documents should include:
- A Will and possibly a Revocable Trust to ensure that your assets are distributed to whom you wish and under terms as you choose after your death in the most tax advantageous fashion.
- Appropriate documents to ensure that your minor children are cared for by persons you choose during your lifetime if you become incapacitated and after your death.
- A Power of Attorney to ensure that individuals that you choose are appointed to handle your financial affairs (including tax planning) during your life if you are unable to do so.
- An Advanced Health Care Directive to ensure that your intentions regarding your health care are carried out if you become incapacitated.
Once implemented, it is very important that an estate plan be reviewed periodically and updated based on changes in estate tax laws, wealth of family members, health of family members, family relations (such as marriages and divorces), and personal intentions.