A Guide to Five Popular Estate Planning Tools

Power of attorney

Creating an estate plan is an essential part of smart planning for the future. If you are new to estate planning — perhaps one of the many people who has realized how fragile life is as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and wants to prepare for unexpected possibilities — you might not realize how many useful tools you have at your disposal. Today, we’re taking a very basic look at some of our favorite estate planning tools to give you a clearer idea of what you have at your disposal.

  1. The Will

The will, or “Last Will & Testament,” is the backbone of most estate plans. It is a document that expresses your wishes about how your assets will be distributed among your loved ones after your death. It also names a person, the “executor,” who will oversee the distribution of your property and any final tax or debt payments.

  1. The Trust

A trust is a financial relationship between three people: The trustor (you), a trustee, and a beneficiary. You can set money or other property aside for the trustor to manage on behalf of the beneficiary who, as the word suggests, benefits from the assets in the trust. There are many different types of trusts including special needs trusts, pet trusts, gun trusts, and more. You can have multiple trusts set up as a part of your estate plan.

  1. Advance Health Care Directive

Your estate plan doesn’t just account for what will happen when you die, it can also make arrangements for how your affairs will be handled if you get very sick or are otherwise incapacitated. An advance health care directive is a document in which you can express your wishes regarding your medical care. 

  1. Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney is a document that you can use to appoint someone to handle your financial, medical, legal, or other affairs on your behalf. There are several different uses of powers of attorneys and types of powers of attorney. Durable powers of attorney are effective even if you are incapacitated.

  1. Your Estate Planning Lawyer

Your estate planning lawyer is an irreplaceable resource. They have the knowledge and experience needed to help you make a plan that is perfectly tailored to your individual situation and needs. You may be tempted to create your plan yourself using online forms, but when you do this you take a major risk. Only an estate planning lawyer can help you be sure your estate plan is legally binding and does what you intend for it to do.

If you are looking for an estate planning attorney in Alaska, look no further. The Barlow Anderson team is here to help you. Give us a call at (907) 375-0750 to schedule a consultation.