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Many documents may have roles in your estate plan

Creating an estate plan is one of the best decisions you and any other California resident can make. You can ensure that your loved ones understand your wishes at times when having that information may prove crucial. Still, you may have questions about its benefits.

First, you may wonder how you are supposed to boil your life down to include all your vital information in one document -- your will. After all, you may need to address many different details for different people and different aspects of your life. Fortunately, an estate plan does not only consist of a will. Several other planning documents can also play important roles in your plan.

Living documents

Because you thought that your estate plan would consist of only a will, you may have also believed that the plan would only be useful after your death. Fortunately, that is not the case. You can create other documents that may come in handy for certain serious situations while you are still living. Typically, these documents address decisions that may need making if you become incapacitated.

A durable power of attorney allows you to appoint a person to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf in the event that you lose the ability to do so yourself. A serious illness or injury could put you in this position, and having named a person ahead of time could save time and confusion. It also allows you to put a trusted person in charge.

A living will may also prove useful. This document allows you to detail your wishes for care in the event that you face a potentially terminal situation. You can provide instructions as to whether you would like to remain on any life-sustaining devices and receive any possible treatments available or if you would rather forgo treatments.

Wills and trusts

Your will and trusts come into play when it comes to distributing your assets and other decisions that may go into effect after your death. You can use your will to detail who you want to receive which assets, and you can include other information, such as who you would like to act as guardian for your children.

When it comes to trusts, you can use this planning tool to have more control over the funds you bequeath. You can name one or multiple beneficiaries and detail when and how the assets can be used.

Of course, you may also want to explore other planning options. With the right information, you can create the estate plan that best suits your needs and wishes.

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