What are some examples of estate planning?

Andrew Denney

September 7, 2023

Estate planning is a comprehensive process involving critical decisions about your assets, healthcare, and legacy. It’s not solely for the wealthy or elderly; it’s a vital endeavor for individuals of all backgrounds and ages. In this article, we’ll explore practical examples of estate planning strategies to help you understand how estate planning can benefit you and your loved ones.


A testament, commonly known as a will, is one of the most fundamental components of estate planning. It allows you to specify how your assets should be distributed after passing. You can name beneficiaries, designate guardians for minor children, and even outline your funeral and burial preferences. Creating a choice ensures that your wishes are legally documented and provides clarity for your family and beneficiaries.

Living Will and Advance Healthcare Directive:

A living will and advanced healthcare directives are crucial for making your medical wishes known, mainly if you cannot communicate your preferences. These documents outline the medical treatments and interventions you do or do not wish to receive in specific situations, such as life-sustaining treatments or organ donation. These directives ensure that your healthcare decisions align with your values.

Financial Power of Attorney:

A financial power of attorney designates a trusted individual (an agent or attorney-in-fact) to manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. This person can make financial decisions on your behalf, such as paying bills, managing investments, and handling tax matters. Appointing an economic power of attorney is a proactive step to protect your financial interests in case of unexpected health issues.

Health Care Proxy:

A healthcare proxy, also known as a medical power of attorney, allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions if you cannot. This person becomes your advocate and ensures that your healthcare preferences are followed. It’s an essential component of comprehensive healthcare planning.

Revocable Living Trust:

A revocable living trust is a flexible and versatile estate planning tool. It allows you to transfer ownership of your assets into the trust during your lifetime, providing seamless management and distribution of these assets upon death. Unlike a will, assets held in a living trust can avoid the probate process, which can be time-consuming and costly.

Irrevocable Trust:

An irrevocable trust, once established, cannot be altered or revoked without the beneficiaries’ consent. These trusts are often used for specific purposes, such as minimizing estate taxes, protecting assets from creditors, or providing for special needs individuals. While they offer less flexibility than revocable trusts, they can provide significant benefits.

Charitable Giving and Philanthropy:

Many individuals use estate planning to leave a lasting legacy through charitable giving. This can include setting up charitable trusts, creating a foundation, or including philanthropic bequests in your will. Estate planning allows you to support causes and organizations that are meaningful to you, even after your lifetime.

Beneficiary Designations:

Beneficiary designations are critical for assets outside your will or trust, such as retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and certain bank accounts. Ensuring that your beneficiary designations are up-to-date and align with your estate planning goals is essential for seamlessly transferring these assets to your chosen beneficiaries.

Business Succession Planning:

If you own a business, business succession planning is vital to estate planning. It involves creating a plan for the smooth transition of your business to the next generation or a chosen successor. This can help preserve the value of your business and ensure its continued success.

Guardianship for Minor Children:

Estate planning allows you to name guardians for your minor children if you and the other parent cannot care for them. This decision is crucial for the well-being and future of your children, and it can provide peace of mind knowing that their care is in capable hands.

Estate Tax Planning:

For individuals with substantial assets, estate tax planning is a strategic consideration. Various techniques, such as gifting, creating trusts, or utilizing the applicable estate tax exemption, can help minimize the tax burden on your estate and preserve more of your wealth for your heirs.

Digital Estate Planning:

In our increasingly digital world, digital estate planning has become essential. This involves cataloging your digital assets, such as email accounts, social media profiles, and online financial accounts, and providing instructions for their management or distribution in your absence.

Estate planning is a multifaceted process that can be tailored to your unique circumstances and goals. These practical examples highlight the diverse ways estate planning can benefit you and your loved ones, ensuring that your wishes are honored, your assets are protected, and your legacy is secured. Whether just starting your estate planning journey or revisiting your existing plan, consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney can provide invaluable guidance and peace of mind. Remember, estate planning is about preparing for the future and providing for your family and loved ones today.