Fundamentals of Estate Planning

Julia M. Carlson |

Why is Estate Planning Important? Having a properly executed estate plan allows you to select trusted individuals to manage your money and property and make decisions on your behalf when you cannot. It also allows you to designate loved ones to receive your money and property at death. Without an estate plan, the state decides.


What Estate Planning Documents Should I Have?

  • Health Care Power of Attorney If you cannot speak for yourself, a person you have designated to speak for you will communicate your medical wishes to the appropriate medical personnel.
  • Financial Power of Attorney. If you are unable to carry out tasks or transactions, a person you have designated to act on your behalf can execute them for you.
  • Last Will and Testament. You will select who is going to wrap up your affairs (Personal Representative/Executor), who will ultimately receive your money and property (Beneficiaries) and who will care for any minor children (Guardian). All very important things!
  • Possibly a Revocable Living Trust. A trustee of your choice is delegated to manage the money and property in your trust.


If you have these documents, that is a great start. It is also important to keep these documents current when life changes happen. We encourage you to update your estate planning documents when life-changing events happen. These events include having children, a change in your marital status, moving to a new state, changing jobs or retiring. We invite you to explore this topic further. Watch our July webinar on estate planning at



Information in this material is for general information only and not intended as investment, tax or legal advice. Please consult the appropriate professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation prior to making any financial decision.

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