We all live and plan as if we have a long life ahead of us. We focus on the present, avoid thinking too much about the future, and postpone estate planning. Does your family know what accounts you have, where your financial information is located, and your final wishes? Now is the time to tell them. If you start now, your plan will help keep your loved ones from becoming stressed if you suddenly become disabled or pass away.
You can begin to educate yourself about estate planning. For instance, what should you be looking for in an estate planning attorney? You can interview several and select the one you feel most comfortable sharing your personal information. You can explore estate planning strategies: Some organizations have free small-group events to share an understanding of the basics of estate planning.
You can start formulating how you would want to be memorialized. One option may include creating a recording to share with your loved ones to help them make tough decisions in advance?
It is better to keep your accounts in order. Estate planning is not only for wealthy people. You do not have to wait until you build up more savings. Particularly, you should not ignore your estate plan if you have a child or spouse who is financially dependent on you.
You should make it a priority to:
- Designate beneficiaries.
- Designate a health care proxy to make medical decisions for you if you cannot.
- Review asset titling — titling assets jointly with rights of survivorship is an easy way to ensure that your property passes to your heirs without delay.
- Consider establishing a trust — in many ways these can be even more effective tools than wills.
- Do some tax planning — although the federal estate tax affects only the wealthiest people, there are other tax issues, including state estate taxes.
- Select guardians to care for minor children.
- Plan ahead — an accident can result in an inability to make legal decisions; a durable power of attorney will name someone to act in your place if you are incapacitated.
Among the documents that are part of an estate plan, consider a will, life insurance, and a power of attorney. A will can be used as a road map outlining how your property will be distributed if you are disabled or die. Meet with an attorney to discuss your assets and who should receive them.
When creating a will, name a trusted friend or family member as the executor to help shepherd your estate through any court-supervised process, such as probate. You may want to seriously consider life insurance, particularly if you have not accumulated a great deal of money. You would want your family to have assets to live on. One less expensive option may include selecting a term policy for a set number of years.
There are a lot of moving parts, and you will have more choices the earlier you get started.
Contact Jerry Miles or Steve Buel to explore specifics about your estate plan.