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When you’ve worked hard your entire life, you want your possessions to remain. Instead of letting them waste away, passing them on to your loved ones can help your legacy live on. If you don’t have an estate plan yet, we’ll let you in on why it’s important and share the 6 key elements every estate plan should have.

Why is Estate Planning Important?

Passing away is normal and something which happens each and every day. When you’re not prepared, your family may have to fumble to get the paperwork in order and may wind up fighting over things they believe they should have. When you set up an estate plan, you help make things run smoothly and pass on your life’s possessions in the way you wish.

6 Parts of an Estate Plan

When you’re ready to draft an estate plan, there are a few things you should gather up. This process will take some time and thinking to make sure it’s drafted up the way you want. Below, we’ll share 6 essential parts of your estate plan you can start working on today.

  1. A Will

A will is a document that shares your wishes with your loved ones. You can add possessions and even specify your preferred funeral arrangements on this document. Draft one up and make sure it’s notarized if your state requires so.

  1. Power of Attorney

A power of attorney (POA) is a person who will oversee the processes after your death. Choose someone responsible you know will take initiative and get things done. You can set any limitations to your power of attorney and even specify what they can and cannot have control over.

  1. List of Beneficiaries and What they Will Receive

As far as your possessions, you will need a list of them and who you would like to pass them on to. In most cases, those creating their estate plan choose immediate family and lifelong friends but, the sky’s the limit. 

  1. Written Intent

In most cases, this document is not used in a court of law. However, this letter of intent helps your POA and other family members know exactly the way you want things. You can get detailed in this letter and specify how you would like things to be executed so your family doesn’t have to decide.

  1. Proper Healthcare Documentation

If you’re creating an estate plan for medical purposes, you need to fill out proper forms to grant your POA the right to make medical-based decisions. They can sign for medication, treatments, and even sign for life support if need be.

  1. Guardianship

You will only need to use this in the case you have younger children. Essentially, it’s a document to pass on guardianship of your children to a family member or dear friend to ensure your children are taken care of after you’re gone.


Any opinions are those of Independent Financial Services and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected, including diversification and asset allocation. Dollar-cost averaging cannot guarantee a profit or protect against a loss, and you should consider your financial ability to continue purchases through periods of low-price levels. The forgoing is not a recommendation to buy or sell any individual security or any combination of securities.