A will sets out how you want the things you own at your death distributed. But an estate plan is part of how you carry out your life. It is part of your personal planning to meet your responsibilities or your goals, or both.
Here are some examples of the primary purpose you may have for your estate plan in different circumstances.
- A person with young children: To make sure the children are cared for and able to pursue the education or life goals you would help them with if you were around
- A person who owns a business: to make sure the business continues to thrive in your absence and can be sold or taken over by family members and give them value
- A person nearing retirement age: to make sure that any disability in old age does not leave you destitute
- A person who has a child with a disability: to make sure that your child who cannot support or care for him or herself has resources to live a good life
- A person with no children: to contribute to the care of other family members, or to support causes of importance to you
These are just a few examples of the types of goals that may important to people in different stages of life. An estate plan, which includes a will but may include other documents as well, can do far more than merely state who gets your things after you die. It can fulfill your obligations and further your life legacy.
Estate planning also includes planning that will ease the immediate problems associated with a temporary disability, such as a serious illness or extended hospitalization for injuries from an accident.