Do you know the difference between an estate plan vs. a will? Most people default to thinking that a will is the only document needed for planning what happens after your death. However, if you ask a reliable source, they’ll tell you that it’s beneficial to have a will and an estate plan.
What is a Will?
A will is a legal document that clearly defines how you want your assets and belongings divided that’s used by the courts and your heirs after your death. It can also detail guardianship for your children and will name an executor responsible for ensuring administration of the will. One of the most significant benefits of a will is to prevent the courts from determining how to divide your property, which is what happens if you die without one.
What is an Estate Plan?
An estate plan goes deeper than a will when allocating and managing your assets. It can allocate what happens while you’re living should you become incapacitated and details distribution of your assets after your death. It also helps with other considerations besides just your assets, including medical power of attorney, advance directives, trusts for living heirs, power of attorney for businesses and investments, and more.
Why Have Both?
The guidance shouldn’t be estate plan vs. will but should be estate plan and will. Because they can work together to create a broader arrangement that can more completely assure the preservation of your assets, carrying out of your wishes, security for your family and loved ones, and protection for your business ventures and investments.
No matter the size and breadth of your estate, if you have any assets to protect and family to take care of, having an estate plan and a will in place will benefit them both before and after your death. Talk to the experienced family law team at McCutchen and McLean LLC for a consultation to find out how you can take care of your family, even when you’re gone.