One of the most prevalent misconceptions people have about estate planning is that a will is all a person needs to protect their wishes and their loved ones.

However, while having a will is critical to preserving what you value most, parties might also want to consider other elements.

Guidance for medical care

A will is essential when it comes to distributing assets after a person’s death. However, it can be of little or no help before a person passes away. Therefore, it can be crucial to have advanced medical directives and assign medical and financial powers of attorney.

These tools guide medical professionals, loved ones and others who need to make care-related decisions if you are incapacitated and cannot express your wishes or make decisions.

Plain language instructions

Wills and other legal documents are drafted so that they are clear and enforceable by the courts. But this legalese can create confusion and leave out contextual information behind your decisions.

Thus, having a letter of instruction can be wise for anyone who wants to provide an explanation to beneficiaries, heirs and others affected by an estate plan. In this letter, you can simplify complex decisions and include personal messages to loved ones. While it is not a legally-binding document, it allows you to express things that your will and other legal documentation do not reflect.

Trusts

Trusts create specific fiduciary relationships and protocols for distributing property efficiently. These are tasks that a will typically cannot accomplish.

Depending on the trust you create, you can earmark property or money for specific purposes, control when a person receives trust assets, take advantage of tax incentives and leave gifts for loved ones without compromising government benefits they receive.

A will by itself may not fully protect your legacy or provide guidance to loved ones during a painful time. Therefore, supplementing your will with these and other valuable estate planning documents can be a wise decision.