Estate planning is the legal process of designating your estate to people you trust. It is the best way to allow your wishes to be carried out long after you are gone.
Contrary to popular belief, estate planning is not for the rich and wealthy. Even a person with an average income and a few properties can have an estate plan. The complexity of estate planning depends on how big your estate is. No need to fret thou. You can easily get estate planning help from a reputable estate planning attorney.
So, what is required to ensure a proper and successful estate planning?
- Know your assets and debts
The first step in estate planning is to create a detailed inventory of your assets and debts owed. Apart from the assets owned, write down details of all your accounts, emergency contact people, and advisors.
Keep this information in a secure place. It can either be in the form of a digital file or written down on a piece of paper and stored somewhere safe.
Remember to also have original copies of sensitive documents.
- Plan for a contingency plan
It comes into play in the event of the death or incapacitation of the estate’s owner. It allows for an owner to give directives on how family affairs should be carried out afterward.
That way, your family carries on your affairs without the intervention of the court.
Besides, it allows you as the estate owner to provide a strategy of how expenses and caregiving will be provided if a need arises.
- Provide for your family
Family provisions are one of the main reasons why a majority of people seek estate planning services.
With that in mind, when planning your estate, provide details on how your family will be taken care of. Share detailed information on the prospective guardians for all children below the age of 18. Also, remember to put restrictions, in regards to the wealth transferring down to your spouse’s partner, in the event that they remarry.
- Protect your assets
Write down specific directives on which properties are entrusted to which member of the family. This is, especially true when it comes to family-owned businesses.
In the event of death, creditors may be tempted to come after your properties. By specifying the assets entrusted to each of the family members, you avoid instances where your estate falls into the wrong hands.
- Be clear about your wishes
Have legal documentation of your wishes. That way, your wishes will be executed to the letter.
Make sure your estate is named properly. These assets include titles, cars, and other properties.
Additionally, you should clearly state the beneficiaries of things such as life insurance. If you have a retirement policy, the same should be done.
All in all, the secret here is to work with a reputable estate planning attorney. By doing so, you can update your estate plan as you see fit. Also, it ensures your end-of-life wishes are executed as you stated.