A couple smiling as they sit with an attorney going over an estate plan and various documents

Is a Will the Same as an Estate Plan?

Part of Something Bigger

When many of our clients hear “estate planning,” they automatically think of a last will and testament. While one might assume that an estate plan and a will are the same things; however, this is incorrect.

A will is only one portion of an estate plan — albeit an important part. Read on to learn more.

The Function of a Will

A will (last will and testament) is used to pass assets down to specific beneficiaries; it ensures that your wishes are upheld after your passing. It can also be used to name a guardian of your children or your pet. However, wills are merely just one part of an estate plan, as wills cannot do many of the other important things that other components of estate plans can.

Components of an Estate Plan

While a will is certainly part of an estate plan, a will does not make a complete estate plan. There are many other components that should be included in an estate plan that a will cannot do, including the following:

  • Powers of attorney, both financial and medical

  • Advanced healthcare directive (used for end of life care)

  • Beneficiary designations

  • Virtual Asset Instruction Letter

  • A trust (if used in conjunction with your will)

  • Any other specialty instructions (consult with your attorney in case you have anything that might be outside the norm)

All of these components, including a last will and testament, collectively make up a complete estate plan. Each of these components is used for items and terms that wills cannot cover.

Ask Questions of Your Attorney

If you have any questions about estate planning, including why you should have one, be sure to get those questions answered by an attorney who understands estate planning and who can help you craft a document that will meet your needs and the needs of your family. At Pacific Cascade Family Law, our team will sit down with you and go over everything you need to be covered in an estate plan. We can then help you put together a complete estate plan that will offer you and your family both a great deal of protection and even more peace of mind.


Learn more about estate planning by calling our Pacific Northwest attorneys at (888) 981-9511 or by visiting our website.

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