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What Does a Typical Estate Plan Include?

By Katherine Crowell

April 16, 2020


An “estate plan” is a plan that you create with the assistance of your attorney—ideally long before your death—so that, when you die, your assets go to the people you choose, and in the manner you want.

But was is it exactly? Is it a single piece of paper with a plan on it, or is it something altogether different? And how do we do whatever it is?

What to include in an estate plan?

A basic estate plan typically includes the following documents, which may have different names depending on the state where you live:

An estate plan might also include a revocable living trust, also known as a living trust or an intervivos trust. This type of trust is optional depending on your specific goals and the specific laws of the state where you live.

Estate Plan = Last Will and Testament (“Will”) Health Care Directives Power of Attorney for finances Revocable Living Trust (optional)

Estate planning can also include many other techniques for many different purposes. Beyond the basics, estate planning is very personal. Your estate planning attorney can guide you to the specific elements of estate planning that are right for you.


Excerpt from the book Estate Planning for the Savvy Client: What You Need to Know Before You Meet With Your Lawyer by Mary L. Barrow, Esq.

Copyright ©2020, 2017 by Mary L. Barrow

THIS EXCERPT IS A BRIEF SUMMARY FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND SHOULD NOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE ADVICE OF COMPETENT LEGAL COUNSEL FROM AN ATTORNEY ADMITTED OR AUTHORIZED TO PRACTICE LAW IN YOUR JURISDICTION. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR ATTORNEY BEFORE IMPLEMENTING OR CHANGING ANY ESTATE PLANNING STRATEGY.