• Ruth-Ann E. Toups

What is an Estate Plan?

Updated: Nov 28, 2018


Recently, I was talking to someone I had just met and when I told them I am an estate planning attorney their response was "I don't need estate planning, just a will." After talking more, I realized many people may not know what the term estate planning means or what makes up an estate plan.


So, what is an estate plan anyway? The truth is, it can be a difficult question to answer because everyone's estate plan is a little different. For some, our estate plan might be focused on what would happen to our minor children if we passed away. For others, our estate plan might be focused on minimizing tax liability at our death. For others, our estate plan might detail a plan for a blended family, a special needs beneficiary, or our pets. In its most simple form, an estate plan is a will. An effective estate plan is about having a holistic plan in place for your loved ones in the event of your death or incapacity.


Your plan may not be the same plan your neighbor or sister has. Estate plans, like many things, are not one size fits all. However, there are a few basic documents that should be a part of everyone's estate plan. Our estate plans, both simple and complex, include the following six documents:


1. Will

2. Statutory Durable (Financial) Power of Attorney

3. Medical Power of Attorney with HIPAA Release

4. Advance Directive to Physicians

5. Declaration of Guardian

6. Agent for Disposition of Remains


Over the next several weeks, we will be featuring each of these documents individually on the blog. For now, it's important to remember that your estate plan is made up of more than your will, and that everyone needs a plan in place!


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