Important Estate Planning Steps

Important Estate Planning Steps

Having an estate plan is extremely crucial especially when you have important assets to protect in the case of your incapacitation or death. Whether you want to ensure your sentimental and monetary items go to your children, you want to protect your business and investments, want to ensure your son or daughter receives their inheritance money, etc., to accomplish these tasks you’ll want a well-structured estate plan. We’ll break down the elements that an estate plan should contain. 

Have a Will and a Trust

By having a will, you can easily designate who will inherit your property and other assets. A will can also ensure that the proper guardian will take care of your children should something happen before they become of age. 

You might also want to consider having a trust. A trust will allow a designated trustee to handle your assets following your pass away/incapacitation. A successor trustee is often a beneficiary–such as a son or a daughter–but can also be another family member, a trusted friend, a neutral third party, or even a financial institution. 

Name Someone to Protect Your Children’s Assets 

If your children are minors when you pass away, having an adult–such as their legal guardian–manage their inherited assets is highly recommended. Doing so will ensure that they only manage their inheritance assets when they are older, responsible adults. 

Have a Financial Power of Attorney

By naming someone financial power of attorney, they can handle your property and finances when you’re unable to handle your affairs. This party can be an attorney but doesn’t always have to be. 

File Beneficiary Forms 

When you name a beneficiary for your retirement plan and bank account, this means they are “payable on death”. This will allow your beneficiary to bypass the complicated and sometimes expensive probate process. In many states, you can even register stocks, bonds, and brokerage accounts to transfer to your beneficiary. 

Have an Account Covering Funeral Expenses

No one likes to think about their passing away. Unfortunately, it’ll happen to everyone someday. Additionally, funeral expenses can add up over time. To lighten the burden on your family, having a funeral prepayment plan can help significantly. Additionally, you should also have a plan in place that makes your end-of-life wishes clearly detailed. This means whether you want your body buried or cremated and if you’re an organ donor. 

Write Out Your Health Care Wishes

By having a health care directive, you can clearly detail what you wish to have happen when you’re unable to make important medical decisions. You can also have a power of attorney for healthcare. This party will have the power to make key medical decisions when you’re unable. 

Have an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer

Finally, navigating the process of estate planning can be complicated. In addition to initially drafting all the necessary documents, ensuring your wishes are upheld after your passing away can also be difficult. The right estate lawyer will ensure everything is properly taken care of. Our friends at Carpenter & Lewis PLLC can help! 

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