When you complete the estate planning process, you walk away with a set of documents. Those documents contain your wishes in case you die or become incapacitated.
It’s a bit of an oversimplification to say an estate plan is the set of documents that results from the estate planning process. Really, the documents are what implement the estate plan. To put it another way, the estate plan is the strategy that drives the contents of the documents.
On the most basic level, an estate plan and the documents that implement it address issues like who should manage your finances if you’re unable to do so yourself, who should take care of your kids if you die, and how your property should be divided up among the people and causes you care about. But a good estate plan does more. A thoughtfully crafted estate plan is flexible and powerful. It can, for example, convey values, give loved ones direction, and help diffuse potential conflicts among heirs.