If you want some sense of control over what happens to your estate after you pass, you must establish an estate plan.
However, a well-thought-out estate plan consists of more than a will.
Take care of your family
Suppose you have minor children or incapacitated adults in your care. In that case, your estate plan should include guardianship documents to establish who will take over the physical care of these family members after your death. You may also consider setting up a trust for your minor children that they can access at a certain age so that their inheritance will provide for them in the years to come.
Name essential people
Wills often name an executor to handle all matters of settling the estate, paying debts and distributing assets. A solid estate plan should name a few additional important people that can act on your behalf should you become incapacitated through illness or injury. A power of attorney can make business decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make decisions yourself. A healthcare power of attorney makes medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated. You may name the same person as executor, power of attorney and health care power of attorney, or you can name three different people. An estate plan gives you that choice.
Establish a business succession plan
If you own a business, you can create a plan of succession for that business after you pass. Whether that is to pass it on to a business partner or an heir is up to you.
Creating an estate plan before you pass also lessens the stress and chaos your grieving family will deal with after your death. An estate plan clarifies your intentions and reduces fighting and disagreements among your heirs.