Baby Boomers and those who came before, referred to as Traditionalists or the Silent Generation, have different estate planning needs compared to Millennials and Gen Xers. Gen Xers and Millennials are often concerned with planning for the care of their children while Baby Boomers and Traditionalists need to account for a lifetime’s worth of accumulated assets.

To help account for these unique needs, Traditionalists and Baby Boomers can draft an estate plan that includes the following:

  • Trust. This legal document can help your estate avoid probate. Probate is a public court process that results in the distribution of your estate. The probate court will use a will if present. If not, the court will distribute the assets in accordance with state law. Different trusts are available to achieve different goals, including protecting assets while a loved one needs care at a nursing or other long-term care facility.
  • Power of attorney. This document is an efficient way to establish who will be able to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf on the event you become incapacitated. The alternative is often the guardianship process — a process that can lead to a costly, time-consuming and public court proceeding.
  • Health care proxy. This is similar to the power of attorney, but designed to specifically address health care planning needs.

It is also important to review these documents on a regular basis. A good rule of thumb is to plan on meeting to discuss potential changes every three years.

These are just the basics. Each family should tailor their estate plan to meet their needs. As a result, it is generally wise to draft the plan with the counsel of an attorney experienced in this area of the law.