Estate Planning Checklist
By considering an estate plan, you have taken the most important step to securing your future and your assets. Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging for the disposal of one’s estate after death. Your estate is comprised of everything you own—your home, car, bank accounts, retirement plans and investments, possessions big and small. No matter how large or modest, everyone has an estate that they’ve worked hard to build up. Planning now will help you avoid losing your assets in the event of a disabling illness or death.
When you plan your estate, begin with yourself. Do you have a current and valid will or living trust? Your attorney will help guide you on the most beneficial type of will or trust for your situation. Ensure that your legal document is current and reflects exactly your wishes. Include any executors, trustees, or powers of attorney as befits your plan. Consider including instructions on how to conduct your funeral and memorial services. Allocate a percentage of your estate to cover these costs so your family is not stuck covering the bills.
Once your personal plans have been laid out for yourself, be sure to include protection for your family. Name guardians for any minors. If you have dependents with disabilities, you can write a protection for them in your estate plan. Pass on important information such as names and addresses of your financial advisors to your surviving family. Your attorney can also advise on the right amount and type of life insurance for you.
Finally, protect your family’s inheritance by setting up a trust. A revocable living trust, valid in every state, can avoid probate at death, prevent court control of assets, provides maximum privacy, and can be changed by you at any time. Your estate planning attorney can provide information on any tax and social security consequences for your beneficiaries.
There are many components of your estate that you can allocate and control. Consult an estate planning attorney to comprehensively address your estate and ensure the best possible orchestration of your assets when you become unable to do so yourself.