Your Checklist for Estate Planning

  • Taking the time to speak with an estate planning attorney and develop a thorough plan for the division and management of your estate after you become disabled are die is not something many people take the time to do. Estate planning is something that every person should think about and do before it becomes too late. Establishing a checklist and following it is vital to the future of your assets. Estate planning is done so that there is no confusion or mishandling, costs are reduced, and less time has to be spent in court after a person dies. Having an attorney help with estate planning is useful because it is a complicated process. Here is a checklist of things you should think about when creating your estate plan.

     

    Inventory

    Most people do not consider themselves to be wealthy. However, no matter who you are, you have things on your property that you can inventory. Vehicles, boats, collectibles, antiques, and sentimental items are all things you can put in an inventory. Real estate that you own should also be listed. After you have completed an inventory of assets you need to figure out how much they are worth. This can be done by having appraisals done or getting financial statements for your accounts. If you have an asset that you cannot value accurately, you should put a value on them that your beneficiaries would likely agree with. This helps make sure that you are distributing your assets as equally as possible among your beneficiaries and can minimize fighting after you pass away.

     

    Family Planning

    The next item on the estate planning checklist is planning for your family. You want to make sure that they are taken care of if you die or become disabled suddenly. Look at life and disability insurance to ensure that your family is ok when you are unable to care for them any longer. You want to make sure any plan you have in place can provide for them at the same level you were. This includes any spouse who depends on a two-income household to live. You should also look at who will care for minor children or adults with disabilities that you are responsible for. You can do this by naming someone as a backup guardian in your will. It is important to have this in case the primary guardian cannot care for the child. You want to make sure all of your wishes are documented so that no one has any questions about your wishes about the care of your children after your death.

     

    Directives

    You want to make sure that you leave instructions regarding medical and financial decisions that are required after you die. This means listing a power of attorney to make decisions for you if you become disabled or deceased. You should also consider spelling out what your wishes are regarding medical decisions to ensure things or handled the way you would want them handled. At the end of the day, you and your attorney can create a comprehensive estate plan that spells out everything you want so that there are not no questions when you are no longer to make the decisions yourself.