The terms “will” and “estate planning” often get used interchangeably. But it’s important to understand their differences, and how they work together to protect your family’s financial future, as well as your legacy.
What Is a Will?
A will is a set of instructions that carefully lay out how you would like your assets divided and to whom they will go. A will can be read to heirs after the passing of the individual and is filed publicly with the Court. Assets can range from property and family heirlooms to naming who will provide parental care to children or run a family-owned company.
A will is like a contract, which means there are several legal procedures involved to have it validated, including having witnesses to the signing and dating of the document.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning provides a comprehensive outline of where and to whom your assets will go (like a will), but it will also name who is given authority over your financial and medical decisions, should you be unable to perform these responsibilities due to health issues.
Items collected in your estate plan may include:
- Power of Attorney
- Medical Power of Attorney
- Living Will
- Living Trust
What Is the Difference Between a Will and Estate Planning?
Think of it this way. A will is a document housed in the collection of documents that make up an estate plan. Though it’s an important piece, it’s still only one area of planning your estate. Estate plans are created to protect your wishes while you’re alive and after you pass.
Life can be full of uncertainties. For many, knowing that they have an estate plan drafted and validated in the event that they are no longer able to care for themselves gives them greater peace of mind.
If you were to become incapacitated, for example, who would you desire to handle your finances and decide where you are to live and receive care? Having this planned out ahead of time when you are an active participant in the final decision is vital. It’s also helpful to note that you can always update and revise your estate plan as your needs change.
Need Help Planning Your Estate
Whether you are looking to draft an estate plan from scratch or update an existing one, KTF Law Firm can help!
To get started, contact our office for a consultation. This will allow us the opportunity to learn more about you and help you plan out your estate to ensure your wishes are carried out on your terms.