American Indian Owned Law Firm

4 components of an estate plan

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2023 | Probate & Estate Planning

All adults should have a comprehensive estate plan to make their wishes for caring for their loved ones known. This plan should include several components that outline things that will happen when the creator passes away, but it also includes information that can help with your affairs if you become incapacitated. 

Estate plans should be tailored to meet your unique situation. These four components of estate plans are just the basics that most adults will need. 


A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for your assets after you pass away. Only assets that aren’t part of trusts should be included in the will. It can also designate guardians for minor children and name an executor to manage the estate. Wills must be set precisely and must meet all Oklahoma guidelines in order to be legally enforceable.


A trust holds assets for your loved ones so they can be distributed in the manner you intend. It’s overseen by a trustee, who manages the assets and distribution. There are several different types of trusts, including revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts and charitable trusts. Trusts can be used to avoid probate, minimize taxes and provide for the long-term care of beneficiaries.

Power of attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document that enables the person you designate to make medical and financial decisions for you in certain circumstances. This can be useful in situations where a person becomes incapacitated or is otherwise unable to manage their affairs. You should name someone you trust and who can make decisions based on what’s best for you. 

Letter of instruction

A letter of instruction is a non-binding document that provides information and guidance to the executor or trustee regarding the administration of an estate or trust. It can include information about the person’s wishes for their funeral or burial, details about their assets and debts and other important information that can help the executor or trustee carry out their duties.

The sooner you get your estate plan together, the sooner you can have peace about your loved ones being cared for after you pass away. Once you create the plan, you should review it periodically to ensure it still reflects your wishes.