Estate Planning: Are your Documents in Order?

Eric Schierhorn

A key aspect to a sound financial plan is having your estate documents in order. While each individual and family’s estate plan is unique, there are a few recommended documents that everyone should have.

  1. Health Care Directive
  2. Powers of Attorney
  3. Will
  4. Beneficiary Designations

Health Care Directive

A health care directive appoints a person to make medical decisions for you in the event you’re incapacitated or unable. It also allows you to give your preference on decisions such as life support, where you want care, pain management, etc. Without a health care directive the medical provider may ask for family input (if available) or make the decision they feel is best for you, which may not be aligned with your desires.

Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney names a person to handle your financial affairs in the event you are incapable. If you become severely injured, incapacitated, etc., someone will need to access your assets to ensure your bills are paid and your finances are in order. Without a power of attorney in place, it can be a nightmare for families when their main focus should be on the care of their loved one.


Most people think of wills as necessary to ensure their assets are transferred to their desired heirs, which is true in some cases. What some don’t realize is a will names the guardian of your children in the event of your death. This is especially important for those with minor children and should be reviewed from time to time to ensure you’re content on your choice of guardian.

Beneficiary Designations

Another important aspect of estate planning is making sure your beneficiary designations are up to date. As big life events occur (Marriage, kids, divorce, etc.) you’ll need to update beneficiaries on your investment accounts and life insurance policies. The last thing you’d want is for your assets to go to the wrong person or one of your rightful heirs to get left out at your passing.

Update, Update, Update

Your life and the people in it are constantly changing. Since the last time you updated your estate documents you may have had a kid, got married, or had another life event that would cause the need to update your documents. Over time, people that you had once thought of as the right fit for the various duties in your estate plan may no longer be fit for that role. Reviewing and updating your estate plan at regular intervals is key to ensuring execution goes as smooth as possible.


To help ensure you and your family are prepared for the future and have these recommended documents completed, connect with your estate planning professional. Need help finding an estate planning professional? Connect with the Abbey Street team to start a conversation.

Learn More

To learn more about the basics of estate planning visit

Abbey Street, LLC (“Abbey Street”) is a Registered Investment Advisor (“RIA”) registered with the SEC. Registration as an investment adviser does not imply a certain level of skill or training, and the content of this communication has not been approved or verified by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission or by any state securities authority. Abbey Street renders individualized responses to persons in a particular state only after complying with the state’s regulatory requirements, or pursuant to an applicable state exemption or exclusion. All investments carry risk, and no investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect from loss of capital. The information contained in this article is intended to provide general information about Abbey Street and its services. It is not intended to offer investment advice. Investment advice will only be given after a client engages our services by executing the appropriate investment services agreement and shall be subject to the terms and conditions therein. Information regarding investment products and services are provided solely to read about our investment philosophy and our strategies and to be able to contact us for further information. You should not rely on any information provided on our web site in making investment decisions. Market data, articles and other content discussed in this video are based on generally-available information and are believed to be reliable. Abbey Street does not guarantee the accuracy of the information contained in this video. The information is of a general nature and should not be construed as investment advice and relied upon in making investment decisions. Abbey Street will provide all prospective clients with a copy of our current Form ADV, Part 2A (Disclosure Brochure) prior to commencing an advisory relationship. However, at any time, you can view our current Form ADV, Part 2A at  In addition, you can contact us to request a hardcopy.
Eric Schierhorn Headshot

About The Author

Eric Schierhorn

Eric Schierhorn is a Private Wealth Advisor at Abbey Street and is uniquely skilled in our financial planning technology. Eric holds a Certified Financial PlannerTM designation and supports the Private Wealth Management team.

View bio

Get in touch with Abbey Street

Start a conversation to learn more about who we are and what we do. Our team is ready to make an impact.

Contact Us