What are the primary differences between a will and estate planning? While the two processes tend to go hand-in-hand, they are not the same. Understanding the similarities and differences between will drafting and estate planning can help you know how to move forward to protect your assets and provide for your family.
What Is a Will?
A will is a document that provides details about where you want your assets to go upon death. It also includes information about who you want to serve as a guardian if you have minor children. In the will drafting, you name an “executor”—the person in charge of the asset distribution upon your death.
What Is Estate Planning?
Will drafting is an integral part of the estate planning process. However, the estate plan covers details that take place while you are still living, including financial and healthcare decisions other people can make on your behalf. Estate planning also encompasses tasks to preserve and manage your assets, such as establishing charitable giving to reduce your taxable estate.
Primary estate planning documents include:
- Last will and testament
- Durable power of attorney to handle your finances
- Healthcare power of attorney to make medical decisions if you are unable to do so
- Advance directive—a legal document that expresses your choice about life-prolonging efforts and treatments, such as a Do Not Resuscitate order (DNR)
The #1 difference between a will and estate planning: While it’s possible to draft only a will without comprehensive estate planning, the estate planning process includes will drafting.
Do you need an experienced attorney to draft your will or estate planning documents? Contact Lexington’s trusted estate planning attorneys at McCutchen McLean, LLC, to get started.