Many people may think that establishing a will is the only step needed in planning for the protection and distribution of their property and assets. However there are various other estate planning directives that can work in conjunction with your will that can further protect your family and heirs.
Wills: Your last will and testament can name heirs for specific property, name guardians for minor children, establish trusts, and achieve many other goals.
Trusts: Trusts vary greatly, depending on your specific needs and intentions. Some trusts are established according to instructions in your will while others are created during your lifetime. Trusts can be effective means for tax planning, distributing to minor children, planning for special needs children, and more.
Living wills and Health Care Surrogates: If you have specific wishes regarding the type of health care you receive in the future, it is important to establish a living will and/or name a heath care surrogate. While a living will declares your wishes regarding life-sustaining care, a heath care surrogate is a person you name to make important health care decisions on your behalf if you become incapable of doing so due to illness or incapacity.
Durable powers of attorney: Powers of attorney can be very broad depending on your needs. A power of attorney grants authority to an individual you name, to do certain things on your behalf — make health care decisions, sign contracts, and more. Durable powers of attorney remain valid even if you become incapacitated.
Guardianships: Guardianships have purposes beyond assigning authority over minor children. Guardianships may also be necessary for an adult with special needs or an elderly person who lacks the capacity to care for oneself.