Differences Between a Will and an Estate Plan

Contrary to popular belief, estate planning and will planning are different items. Your will is a part of your estate plan. Many people who create an estate plan go for a will. Both a will and estate plan provide instructions to the creator’s family about how their property and estate should be handled after their passing.

An estate plan is more comprehensive than a will. Unlike a will which spells out the creator’s wishes regarding just the distribution of their assets after their death, an estate plan outlines the creator’s wishes regarding their finance and healthcare even when they’re alive.

An estate planning attorney in Santa Rosa will help you set your financial objectives and establish a sound strategy. They will determine the type of planning you need and help you arrange your assets in a way that results in maximum benefits for your beneficiaries. The professional will ensure estate taxes and other associated expenses are minimized.

You can use your estate plan to give instructions regarding matters that are not typically handled by a will. Your estate plan will include your will, power of attorney, beneficiary designations, and letter of intent.

It should include instructions related to the transfer of property & financial assets and how the superannuation fund should be distributed among your beneficiaries.

Estate planning also involves nominating a person who would make sure your healthcare and other wishes are carried out if you become physically or mentally incapacitated.

A will is a relatively simple document when compared to an estate plan. Will planning usually involves creating a last will and testament which should include important instructions such as who should take care of your dependents after your passing and who receives your assets. If you are a business owner, decide who will take over your business after your passing.

When creating your last will and testament, remember to appoint an executor – the person responsible for ensuring all your wishes are carried out. There are several benefits to wills. A well-designed will can help prevent family disputes over the creator’s property after their demise.

Though will planning is a relatively simpler exercise when compared to estate planning and you could draft your own will, it makes sense to hire an attorney. If you take the DIY route, you may end up making a mistake and your wishes may not be carried out as you intended or a court could declare your will invalid.

Whether you want to create your estate plan or write a will, Johnston & Associates Law can help. We are a team of seasoned estate planning attorneys in Santa Rosa. We have years of experience creating personalized wills and estate plans. To learn more, call (707) 545-6542.