When creating your estate plan, it is important that you ensure you include everything needed to leave behind clear and detailed instructions for how you want your assets handled after your death.
The New York Times explains there are a few items you will need to put in your estate plan to at least provide the essential instructions for your heirs.
Power of attorney
Your estate plan is not only for after your death. You should also use it for needs that may occur when you are still alive. In the event you cannot make decisions for yourself, it is helpful to have a power of attorney in place. You can use this tool to give someone else the right to make decisions for you. You can limit it to specific decisions, such as financial or medical, or make it more general so the person can essentially run your life while you are unable to.
A living will is another tool for when you are alive but cannot manage your own life. It provides your wishes for how you want things handled. You can dictate your desires for medical intervention, financial details and other important things, such as child custody.
In the event of your death, you need at minimum a will. Your estate plan is not complete without one. The will is a document that outlines your wishes for the distribution of your assets. It can be as complex or simple as you like. It makes the court aware of what you want to happen when you die. You can include instructions and other details in the document as well.
These three items are a great start to an estate plan. You may want to add additional items, such as a trust, but with these three things in place, you are covering the basics.