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6 Essentials Every Estate Plan Must Have

Part of comprehensive family financial planning is creating an effective estate plan which will ensure you are able to pass on generational wealth to your intended heirs. However, in order for an estate plan to be effective, it will need to have certain important components. The following are six essentials every good estate plan should include:


An estate plan will include a will which is a legal document that leaves instructions on what you want to happen to your assets after you have passed away. Usually, your will should indicate an executor which is the person who will be in charge of implementing the distribution of your assets as specified in the will. 

If you have any minor children the will can name who you want to be the guardian of your children. You can also name the guardian for your pets as well. 

Lastly, you can use your will to communicate your preferred funeral arrangements.


A trust is another option to direct how your assets will be distributed after you have passed away. Essentially, a trust forms a fiduciary duty for another party known as the trustee to legally hold title to your assets for the benefit of your beneficiaries. There are certain tax benefits for using a trust instead of a will. However, there are many different ways to set up trusts. A professional wealth management advisor can help you decide which type of trust is best for you.

Life insurance

When you purchase life insurance you are essentially creating a legal contract between you and the insurance company. The terms of the agreement is that in exchange for monthly premiums you pay to the company the insurance provider will pay out money to your named beneficiaries upon your death.

Beneficiary designations

When you purchase a life insurance policy or sign up for a retirement account or investment account, many times you are asked to provide beneficiary designations. This specifies who you want to receive the assets held in the account in the case of you passing away. Beneficiary designations hold significant legal weight and even override what is in your will. 

You should keep documents related to beneficiary designations with your estate planning documents. Also, make sure to review and update designations regularly.

Durable power of attorney

A durable power of attorney gives a person or entity which you select the power to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf in the case of you being incapacitated for some reason. 

Healthcare power of attorney

This legal document is similar to the durable power of attorney, except with a healthcare power of attorney you are designating a person or entity who will be making medical decisions in the case of you not being able to do so yourself. 

Comprehensive estate planning

Now that you understand some of the essential aspects of a good estate plan, you will need to fine tune the details of your family financial planning strategy. You will need to make specific decisions such as exactly who should be your two power of attorney designations and exactly which assets go to which beneficiary. A professional wealth management advisor can help you weigh your options in order for you to make the best decisions for you and your family’s financial goals. 

This commentary on this website reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints and analyses of the Sweet Financial Partners, LLC employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by Sweet Financial Partners, LLC or performance returns of any Sweet Financial Partners, LLC client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing on this website constitutes investment advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Sweet Financial Partners, LLC manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
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