As you age, it’s important to start thinking about your estate planning. This includes making decisions about how you want to live in your retirement years and what will happen to your assets when you pass away.

An estate plan is a document that outlines how you want your assets to be distributed. It can also include instructions about how you want to live in your retirement years, and who will be responsible for making decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself.

There are many different terms that you will need to know to make the best decisions for yourself and your loved ones. In this article, we discuss 10 of the most important elements of an estate plan. By understanding these things, you can make informed choices about your future.

1) Probate

This is the legal process of distributing a person’s estate after they die. This process can be lengthy and expensive, so it’s important to have an estate plan in place to avoid probate. Probate can take a long time to complete, often many months or even years. That is why it is important to have a plan in place that outlines how you want your assets to be distributed.

2) Estate

This is all the property and assets owned by a person at the time of their death. This can include real estate, vehicles, bank accounts and other assets.

3) Will

Wills are a common way to make sure your family is taken care of after you pass away. You can include instructions for what gets donated, who gets custody over certain assets like homes and cars or even cash. A will is an important part of any estate plan and should be updated regularly based on changes in your life.

If you do not have a will, the state will distribute your assets according to succession laws. This may not be what you would have wanted, so it’s important to make sure your will is up to date.

4) Trust

A legal arrangement in which one person (the trustee) holds property for the benefit of another person or persons (the beneficiaries). Trusts can be used to avoid probate and can also be used to protect your assets from creditors.

5) Power of Attorney

A legal document that gives someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. This can include decisions about your medical care, financial matters or even where you live.

A power of attorney is usually granted to a family member or trusted friend, and it can be revoked at any time. It’s important to have a power of attorney in place in case something happens to you and you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

6) Living Will

This is a document that states your wishes about medical treatment if you become incapacitated and can no longer speak for yourself. A living will allows you to specify whether you want to be kept on life support, and it also allows you to name someone who will make decisions on your behalf.

It’s important to have a living will in place if you have a dangerous career or if you have a chronic medical condition.

7) Estate Taxes

Estate taxes are a tax that is levied on the estate of a deceased person. This tax is paid by the beneficiaries of the estate and it can be quite costly.

The amount of estate taxes you will have to pay depends on the value of your estate and the state in which you live. It is important to plan for estate taxes, as they can quickly eat up an inheritance. There are many ways to reduce or avoid estate taxes, so be sure to talk to a tax professional about your options.

8) Revocable/Irrevocable Trusts

A revocable trust is a type of trust that can be changed or canceled by the person who created it. An irrevocable trust, on the other hand, cannot be changed or canceled without the permission of the trustee.

There are many reasons why you might want to create a revocable or irrevocable trust. For example, you might want to reduce your estate taxes or protect your assets from creditors. It is important to talk to a lawyer about which type of trust is right for you.

9) Executor

An executor is a person who is responsible for carrying out the wishes of the deceased person. This includes paying debts, distributing assets and handling taxes.

If you are named as an executor in a will, it is important to know what your duties are. You may want to consult with a lawyer to make sure you are fulfilling your obligations.

The executor of an estate is often the person who inherits the most assets. This can be a lot of responsibility, so make sure this is someone you trust.

10) Guardianship

A guardianship is a legal arrangement in which someone is appointed to take care of a minor child or an adult who is unable to take care of themselves. Guardianship can be voluntary or it can be appointed by a court.

Final Thoughts

Don’t wait until it’s too late to start estate planning. Take the first step in protecting your future.


If you are looking for a long-term care option, make sure to contact us today.