Many people think about the topic of estate planning and immediately equate it to the exercise of drawing up a last will. There is nothing wrong with this approach to estate planning, and it works just fine for many people. But it is important to understand all of your options when you are planning for the future. Though a last will is one of them and it is indeed a very popular one, it is not your only option.
The fact that you do have a number of choices is one of the reasons why it is always going to be a good idea to retain the services of an experienced, licensed estate planning attorney. The layperson would have no reason to delve deeply into the subject of estate planning. But experienced Estate Planning attorneys are dedicated to the field and they understand how to proceed under any and all circumstances.
With this in mind you would do well to recognize the fact that estate planning exists in a broader context. Your passing will be preceded by your active retirement years and your twilight years, and these phases of life should be planned for as well. The planning that you do for retirement and the latter portion of your life are clearly going to impact your estate plan.
Many people experience a period of incapacity before they pass away when they may not be capable of handling their own personal, financial, and medical affairs. One way that this can be accounted for is through the creation of a revocable living trust that provides a clearly elucidated framework regarding how you would like matters to proceed in the event of your incapacitation. Your hand-picked successor or co-trustee would simply assume control and handle your affairs in accordance with your wishes as stated in the trust agreement.