Estate Planning Checklist

Estate Planning Checklist

When you hear the term “estate planning,” it’s not always totally obvious what that all entails. And that’s a huge issue! Estate planning is the only way to ensure that your assets are being properly disbursed to family and friends that you intended.

 

Sometimes the best way to tackle a big project, such as estate planning, is by creating a checklist. An estate planning checklist will help you remember things that aren’t always obvious, especially if this is your first time ever creating an estate plan.

 

  1. Create a last will and testament
    Most people are aware of the functions of a will. It is a written document that explaining what will happen with your property in the event of your passing. It can also name a guardian for your children in the event both you and your spouse pass. This is where you say who gets what.
  2. Setting up a trust
    A trust isn’t as common as a last will and testament, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not beneficial. Trusts are usually used to minimize estate taxes and avoid probate,which can be a time-consuming and expensive process.
  3. Beneficiary forms
    This is a step most people don’t think about yet can be the most helpful. Naming a beneficiary on a bank account and retirement plan makes the account automatically “payable on death” to the names beneficiary. This allows the funds to skip the probate process– kind of like the trust! 
  4. Health care directives
    Sometimes it’s wise to write out your wishes for your health care in the event that you’re unable to make medical decisions for yourself anymore. This includes a “living will” and a power of attorney for health care.
  5. Financial power of attorney
    With a durable power of attorney for finances, you’re able to give someone the authority and power to handle your finances and property if you become unable to. Make sure it’s someone you trust a whole bunch!
  6. Protecting your children’s property
    If you have children, or plan to have children, you’ll want to name an adult to help safeguard any money and property your minor children may inherit from your passing.
  7. Life insurance
    Consider investing in life insurance if you haven’t already! It could really help out your family, especially if you have young children or you own a house.
  8. Funeral expenses
    Funeral prepayment plans are sometimes unreliable, so we suggest setting up a payable-on-death account and deposit funds into it to for your funeral and other expenses– such as any probate costs!
  9. Protect your business
    If you have your own business, it’s time to start thinking of your succession plan. And if you own a business with a partner, be sure to have a buyout plan in place.
  10. Safeguard your documents
    Keep your documents somewhere safe and organized. Your attorney and the executor of your estate will need these documents when you pass. Make this task as easy as possible so your family can focus on healing and moving forward.

 

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