How to Create an Estate Plan: Everything You Need to Know
Did you know that over 50% of people think estate planning is important?
Getting started on a comprehensive estate plan can seem overwhelming. It may even make you feel bewildered about where to start. After all, there are dozens of documents to complete, and it can take an entire team of professionals to make sure your estate planning is sound and lasts for decades.
But that’s not the case. You can create an estate plan that is easy to complete and meets your long-term goals. You can do part of the work yourself, filing only two easily-obtained documents, and locking in the legal language that protects your family forever.
If you are wondering how to create an estate plan, this short and simple guide is for you.
Know What Your Goals Are
Estate planning isn’t just about making sure your assets go where they’re supposed to when you die. It’s also about making sure those assets will be accessible during your lifetime.
Planning for health care costs, income taxes, a list of assets, and other financial considerations can help ensure that your family doesn’t have to worry about money while taking care of you or dealing with their grief after your passing.
Choose an Attorney Carefully
You should always seek an estate planning lawyer who has experience working with clients in similar situations.
The attorney should also be able to explain things in terms you understand. You should feel comfortable asking questions, and the answers shouldn’t leave you feeling confused or uncertain about your options.
If you need a special needs attorney, you can find someone with this expertise.
Create a Will
A will is the most basic document in an estate plan. It lists everything you own at the time of your death and directs its distribution among beneficiaries or who will receive your property.
Your will also names someone who will serve as executor or the person who carries out your wishes after your death. This might be a family member or professional fiduciary.
Create a Living Trust
A living trust is a document that allows you to avoid probate, which can save time and money. Instead of going through probate, assets pass directly from the owner to beneficiaries named in the trust.
The trust is also revocable, so it can be changed or revoked. Creating a living trust will not eliminate the need for a will, but it can make your estate plan more streamlined and efficient.
Create an Estate Plan and Make Sure You Are Protected
We encourage anyone who has not yet created an estate plan to do so as soon as they can.
While it may be a difficult topic to broach with your loved ones, if you create an estate plan, it will ensure that your family can get through settling your estate in as little pain and stress as possible. That way, you won’t have to worry about them having to deal with estate plan details while they’re still processing the tragic loss of someone they love.
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