When clients and I first sit down to talk about an estate plan, they generally state that they need a Will. This regularly occurs because a Will, as far as estate planning is concerned, is a commonly talked about tool. But that is all it is, a tool in your estate plan. A very important tool, but not a complete plan.
After asking a series of general and specific questions, the clients decide whether they need a will or a trust, and the additional documents which make up a complete estate plan. For a Will based plan those other documents include:
A durable power of attorney for financial decisions;
A durable power of attorney for medical decisions;
If the client is a parent of minor children, a springing power of attorney for minor children;
A health care directive (or living will); and
A HIPAA release.
Each of these documents perform specific functions that the others cannot. The biggest distinction between these documents and a Will, is that the Will does not carry any authority until you pass away and it has been validated in a Probate court proceeding. The listed documents are for your protection while you are alive, but not able to speak for yourself. That can either be due to incapacitation, mental illness, or in some cases disappearance.
Because of this, all are needed. So although a Will is a great first step, and an important tool to have, it is not a complete plan.
Schedule a conversation with Justin Jeppesen to take the first step towards creating your complete estate plan! With our Free Initial Consultation we help our clients explore their own situations and plan for their futures. If you have more questions, we'd love to help! Contact Jeppesen Law now. (208) 477-1785