Estate Planning Documents: The 5 Essentials

At first, estate planning might seem complex, but complex doesn’t have to mean overwhelming. As we start to untangle what this important process entails, first, look at the five essential estate planning documents to protect your assets, safeguard your loved ones, and preserve your legacy. 

What Estate Planning Documents Do I Need?

While there are many different facets to estate planning, the five essential estate planning documents are: 

  • Will
  • Trust
  • Power of Attorney
  • Advanced Medical Directives 
  • Beneficiary Designations

Let’s take a closer look at each one: 


A will is the cornerstone of your estate plan, designating how you want your assets passed on to your chosen beneficiaries. These assets include tangible ones, such as your home and possessions, but it also includes financial assets, investments, even businesses. You can also use a will to designate guardianship for kids and pets. 

Beneficiaries can be loved ones and family members, but it can also include organizations and institutions that mean a lot to you. The executor of your will, chosen by you, will be responsible for carrying out your wishes. 

An estate planning attorney can draft a will that covers all the bases so your wishes are clear and easy to decipher. The last thing you want is a familial dispute based on confusing, conflicting, or missing language.


This legal document helps you pass wealth directly to your next generation, without interference from outside parties. This document helps you avoid probate and instead provides a quiet and speedy transfer of assets. There are different types of trusts (primarily revocable and irrevocable); the KTF legal team can help you figure out the best option for you. 

Power of Attorney 

In a power of attorney, you choose who you trust to make financial and personal decisions for you in the event that you can no longer do so yourself. During your appointment with our legal team, we’ll go through which power of attorney types is best for you and the precise terms of your unique power of attorney. 

Without a power of attorney, important decisions about your home or business could be left to the courts, which are unlikely to make the exact choices you would have made. 

Advanced Medical Directives 

These directives have clear instructions on who gets to make medical decisions about the individual if they’re unable to do so themselves. Often, this includes end-of-life care, such as life support, surgeries, even specific drugs you don’t want administered to you. An advanced medical directive ensures the patient’s preferences are honored, even if they can’t express them at the moment. 

Not only is it worthwhile to the patient, but it takes the weight off of loved ones who otherwise may have to make difficult decisions. Laws regarding medical directives differ from state to state, which is why you want to use a Minnesota estate planning attorney, who understands the local requirements. 

Beneficiary Designations 

Most times when you set up a financial account (i.e., bank account, pensions, retirement accounts, life insurance, etc.), there’s a space to choose a beneficiary. These designations make your intentions clear and also help you avoid probate. Make sure these designations aren’t in conflict with your will. 

More Estate Planning Documents

Remember, these are the foundational documents to take care of the basics. Depending on your individual circumstances and preferences and the complexity of your estate, our team can help suggest and supplement other paperwork.

Estate Planning is Ever-Evolving

Sometimes people worry that what they put in these estate planning documents is set in stone, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. You can and should revisit these documents over time, updating them as your life changes. Our legal team is always here to help your estate planning documents precisely reflect your wishes.

Ready to Build Your Estate Plan? 

Now is the time to get your estate planning documents in order or refresh current ones if it’s been a while. Make an appointment with our law office. By relying on our dedication and legal expertise, your wishes will be carried out now and in the future just as you intend them. 

Request a free consultation.

Estate attorney reviewing important documents.
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