Planning what happens with your estate after you die is an important part of being a responsible and organized adult. Thinking about and planning the aftermath of your death can be an uncomfortable process but it is a necessary one.
If you have been considering taking this important step but are feeling overwhelmed, here are 5 estate planning tips to get you started.
What Is Estate Planning?
Many people think of estate planning as drafting a will or quickly scribbling instructions on a piece of paper about divvying up your stuff, but estate planning is a little more involved than that.
When you plan out your estate, you are making many difficult decisions, including:
- Who will take over your responsibilities if you are incapacitated
- Who receives your assets after death
- What happens to your dependents
- Funeral arrangements
- Reducing estate taxes as much as possible
Estate planning creates a detailed guide on what will happen if you are incapacitated, at the end of your death and after your death. Here are 5 ways to ensure your plan is followed:
1. Make Sure Your Estate Plan Is Complete
One of the great tips for estate planning is to make sure you have all the documents included in your final plan. The most common documents you’ll need when estate planning are:
- Last will and trust
- Power of attorney
- Healthcare power of attorney
- Beneficiary designations
- Guardianship designations
By having all of these documents in your final plan, you’ll be able to make your wishes clear and official.
2. Conduct An Inventory Of Your Assets
Conducting an inventory of your assets is one of the estate planning basics. Make a list of everything you own that you would want to will to someone, items with monetary value and sentimental value. Include the name of the intended recipient by each item.
3. Designate An Executor Of Estate
One of the most important estate planning steps is to designate an executor of your estate. Your executor is responsible for making sure your wishes are carried out after your death. The executor can be a family member, friend, or attorney.
4. Assess Regularly
As with any plan you make, it’s important to assess regularly to make sure your plan is reflecting your current wishes.
Many factors will change over the years, such as assets, laws and regulations, beneficiaries and what you want to happen. It’s important to update your plan regularly to make sure your wishes will be honored.
5. Consult With An Attorney Or Tax Professional
If you are finding the process of estate planning confusing or overwhelming, it’s best to consult with a tax professional or an attorney from a company like estatelawtexas.com. Estate planning is a legal process that needs to be done in a specific way and consulting with a professional for estate planning help is ideal if you are not sure how to proceed.
Estate Planning Tips: The Bottom Line
Estate planning can be an emotional process but by implementing these estate planning tips, you can have a complete plan in no time.
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