You may know more or less what you want to accomplish when you start planning your estate, but there are so many facets to consider it can be difficult to compartmentalize these objectives. Here are three useful estate planning vehicles that can be used to provide a foundation to work with as you proceed.
A living will is a commonly executed advance health care directive, and it is used to allow people to state their preferences regarding the types of medical procedures they will allow in the event of their incapacitation. The matter of the use of life support systems in cases when a terminal condition is present is often central to a living will. However, you can record your wishes across a wide range of topics if you so choose, including things like pain control and personal comfort preferences.
When people hear the word “will” in an estate planning context they naturally think about the document that is used to state one’s wishes in regard to the distribution of assets upon death. These vehicles need no explanation, but it is worthwhile to note that in the past you may have heard the term “last will and testament.” When these distinctions were commonly made it was the will that was used to distribute real property while the testament was executed to divide the personal possessions of the deceased.
Some of the valuables that you have acquired throughout your life are not tangible. Your morals, spiritual understanding, and personal values are precious and priceless, and if you could pass these on you may be giving the greatest gift of all. This can be done through the creation of an ethical will, which is a document that has been used throughout the ages to share the important and universal life lessons that you have learned with succeeding generations.
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