Estate Planning is Estate planning is a process to consider alternatives for, to think through, and to set up legally effective arrangements that would meet your specific wishes if something happens to you or those you care about. Good estate planning is more than just a simple will.
Good estate planning also typically minimizes potential taxes and fees, and sets up contingency planning to make sure your wishes regarding health care treatment are followed.
On the financial side, a good estate plan coordinates what would happen with your home, your investments, your business, your life insurance, your employee benefits (such as a 401K plan), and other property in the event you became disabled or if you die.
On the personal side, a good estate plan should include directions to carry out your wishes regarding health care matters. Thus, in the event that you ever are unable to give direction yourself, the person you select as your legal representative would do that for you. You would give them the authority to act upon your previously determined instructions, such as when you would want them to authorize heroic measures, and when you would prefer they act on a Do Not Resuscitate order.
You should have an estate plan if:
(1) you are the parent of minor children
(2) you have property that you care about
(3) you care about your health care treatment.
If you do not have minor children, do not care about your property, and have no concerns about your health care treatment, then you do not need an estate plan.
But if you meet any of these categories above, you really should have an estate plan.
There are many websites and books available on effective estate planning.