4 Essential Pieces of Your Estate Plan

Many people make the mistake of assuming that they can set up their estate plan with just a will. While a will is an important part of your estate plan, it should not be the only document you use to create your estate plan. Instead, you may need additional documents, depending on your unique financial and personal situation, to set up the type of legacy that you have in mind after you pass. Below are a few suggestions that you might want to consider adding to your estate plan.

1. Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney is a document that sets out who will make important decisions about your life for you if you can no longer make them. The most common reason people need this document is that they contract an illness, or they are involved in an accident, and, as a result, they can no longer manage their financial affairs.

This document names a trusted individual who will make these decisions on your behalf. It is also a good idea to name a backup individual, just in case your first choice is unable to serve as your power of attorney for any reason.

2. Medical Power of Attorney

Like a durable power of attorney, a medical power of attorney, names another person to make decisions for you. However, this decision-maker can only make decisions related to medical issues. In most cases, it will only be effective if a doctor determines that you are either mentally or physically incapable of making decisions on your own.

3. Living Will

A Living Will sets out how you would like to be treated from a medical standpoint if you cannot make medical decisions for yourself. For example, it will set out whether you would want to be put on life support or how long you would like to be on life-sustaining assistance. You can also dictate how pain management should be addressed, as well.

Your living will and medical power of attorney documents are often related—and you should share both with the person that you designate to make medical decisions for you.

4. Beneficiary Designations

Your life insurance and retirement accounts are an important part of your estate plan. You should be sure that your beneficiaries are listed properly. This is not a separate document that you need to draft. Instead, you must contact whoever holds your accounts to make appropriate changes.


If you have some holes to address in your estate plan, we can help. Contact our team today to set up an appointment, 425-227-8700.


Attorney Dan Kellogg serves clients throughout King County and the state of Washington, including Renton, Kent, Tukwila, Burien, Bellevue, Seattle, SeaTac, Auburn, Federal Way, Covington, Issaquah, Maple Valley, and Newcastle.