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What are the essential documents in an estate plan?

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2020 | Wills And Trusts

Many Virginia residents put off the estate planning process because they think it will be too complicated and, perhaps, not worth the effort. But, that isn’t always the case. Most people don’t need complicated estate planning setups and can get by with the basic documents. So, what are the essential documents in an estate plan?

A recent news article noted several documents that our readers may want to consider when they are thinking about their estate plans. For starters, most people begin with a will. In this document, Virginia residents can detail who they want to receive their assets. For most people, this will be close family members or maybe friends. However, without a will in place, state law will fill the void. So, this document is where most people start.

But, there are other estate planning options to consider as well. A trust can be useful for many people. Trusts can help avoid the probate process and can also alleviate concerns people might have about how inherited money will be spent by designated beneficiaries.

Lastly, it is quite common to include power of attorney documents in the estate planning process. These documents can, for example, designate a person to make financial decisions on a person’s behalf if that person is unable to make those decisions. The same can be setup for medical decisions. In essence, these documents place the trust to make important decisions in others. Your wishes in medical situations can also be fleshed out in a “living will,” a document in which you can specifically list medical treatments or procedures you would want to avoid.