Wall Street Journal Guide to Financial Planning
What should be included in the estate plan?
The most important part of any estate plan is who and what matters to you. To whom do you want to leave a legacy or your prize possessions? How do you want to balance reducing expenses (e.g. probate, legal fees, taxes) with simplification? A financial adviser can be instrumental with these and other important issues.
The documents that an estate plan should include, at minimum, include a will, which specifies how your financial affairs will be settled and to whom your assets will be left; a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA), which specifies who will handle your financial affairs if you becomes brain-dead or otherwise incapable of making that decision; and a Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA), which provides specific instructions, prepared in advance, that are intended to direct medical care if you becomes unable to do so.