Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo Logo

How Can I Ensure My Wishes Are Followed in My Estate Plan?

11/06/2023 | Blog

You may invest considerable time and energy in your estate plan, but how do you ensure it supports your final wishes regarding asset distribution, end-of-life care, funeral plans, and other key considerations? Here are the key benefits of estate planning and how an estate planning attorney can be of service.  


A last will and testament is the cornerstone of every estate plan. It’s the one estate planning document everyone should have, regardless of age or estate size.

Your will should:

  • Provide guidelines for the distribution of your assets
  • Appoint a trusted person to act as your will executor
  • Assign legal guardianship over any minor children 
  • Specify your wishes regarding burial or cremation plans

Many people choose to download will templates online, but making a will on your own always comes with a risk of missing essential points. It’s much better to work with an estate plan attorney who will oversee the wording of your will, ensure it’s clear and unequivocal, and help reduce the chance of inheritance conflicts. 


Trusts are flexible and extremely useful tools you can use in your estate plan in addition to a will. Depending on your goals and the type of trust you set up, trusts can help you:

  • Bypass probate
  • Control the distribution of assets after your death
  • Ensure continuous management of your personal or business property
  • Preserve assets
  • Provide for family members with special needs

Like wills, trusts are more reliable and less contestable when you consult a proficient estate planning lawyer. For example, if you’re concerned that a family member will try to challenge your will or trust, your attorney may advise you to include a no-contest clause that would automatically prevent this person from receiving their legacy in the event of a challenge.

Advance Directives

An advance healthcare directive lists your wishes for critical and end-of-life medical care. For instance, your advance directive may list:

  • What treatment you prefer to receive (or forego) in an end-of-life situation
  • A DNR order if you choose not to undergo resuscitation if your breathing or heart stops
  • Your instructions regarding organ donation

Powers of Attorney

Power of attorney (POA) documents let you authorize a trusted person to make decisions for you in case you become incapacitated. The two main types of POA are healthcare and financial. The first allows your representative to give directions regarding your medical care, while the second empowers the representative to manage your finances. 

How To Ensure Your Estate Plan Aligns With Your Vision

As you approach estate planning, we strongly advise you to:

  • Work with a competent estate plan attorney. A lawyer can ensure your estate planning documents tie together, answer your wishes, cover all essential points, and comply with state requirements. 
  • Start as soon as possible. Remember, you can only create a will, trust, or power of attorney documents while you’re in full possession of your mental faculties. Since no one knows when they may become incapacitated, planning early is better. 
  • Periodically update your estate plan. If you get married or divorced, lose a family member, or acquire significant assets, your estate plan may need updates. Revise your estate plan from time to time to ensure it still reflects your circumstances and wishes. 

Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo: Comprehensive Estate Planning in Woodland Hills, CA

Are you preparing to make an estate plan? Our team at the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo will help ensure you have your ducks in a row. Call us at 818-676-9572 or contact us online to consult an experienced, detail-oriented estate plan attorney.