Estate planning isn't just for the wealthy. Depending on your age, family situation, and assets, your need for estate planning may be simple or complex.
Your estate consists of all the property — real and personal — that you own at the time of your death. The property may include real estate, bank accounts, stock and other securities, life insurance policies, personal property such as automobiles, jewelry, artwork, and other collections.
Estate planning allows you to:
This is important since you may not be unable to decide for yourself.
The result of estate planning should be some combination of these documents:
At a minimum you should have a will and healthcare directives. These and other estate planning options are described in the following sections.
Estate planning is not a task that you do once then forget it. You should review your plan every three to five years to make sure that it reflects your current situation. Here are several reasons to update your plan: