Jennifer C. Rydberg, Attorney at Law
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Estate planning: 5 components that make up a good estate plan

The value of a good estate plan cannot be undervalued in today's society. Kent area residents understand how important an estate plan is to preserve family assets and prepare for the future. There are certain items that make up a good estate plan.

One component that is in almost every estate plan is a will. A will is a document that directs how a person's property will be divided upon their death. It also appoints a personal representative to carry out the deceased's wishes. And if a person has children, it will also list the guardians for their children.

Another important estate planning document is a trust. A trust is an arrangement where an institution holds property for another person. Trusts are usually established so that a family can avoid probate. There can also be tax advantages for those who establish trusts.

Another important estate planning document is a medical directive. Medical directives can include a health care proxy, living will, medical instructions, and a medical power of attorney. All of these are important in case a person is no longer able to communicate their wishes. The documents spell out what a person would want to happen at the end of their life and what medical procedures they would want based on how serious their medical condition is.

On a related note, naming a power of attorney is important to make sure a person's financial affairs are taken care of if they're not able to. A power of attorney will have the legal right to pay bills and manage other financial affairs. Finally, beneficiary designations that are included within insurance plans, retirement plans, bank accounts, etc. should be reviewed periodically.

An attorney who specializes in estate planning can help their client ensure their estate plan is up-to-date for their life situation. Each family is unique and their estate planning needs are different. An attorney understands this and can make sure their client's estate plan reflects their wishes.

Source: elderlawanswers.com, "The five components of a good estate plan", accessed on Oct. 14, 2017

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