The inability to take care of yourself, your loved ones, or maintain your belongings can be challenging. Without a well-developed estate plan, the process can be even more difficult.
Most people believe that an estate plan is simply writing a trust or a will. While those documents are important, theyare only a fraction of a comprehensive estate plan, which canhelp make the transition seamless. Making a thorough estate planning checklist is the first step towards having the best possible estate plan for yours and your family’s needs.
Here is what you should include in your estate planning checklist to ensure your assets are seamlessly transferred according to your will and wishes.
Writing a will is a necessary first step because it outlines to whom, where, and how your assets will be distributed. Pairing your will with a trust helps create a solid foundation to limit the amount of estate taxes or legal challenges that can surface as your assets and belongings are distributed.
While there are several will templates you can find online, you would not want your true wishes to get tangled in technicalities or legalities because that could impact how your assets get distributed.
Having an estate planning attorney draft your will and setup a trust can should minimize any miscommunications or issues when it is time to carry out your wishes.
A power of attorney is an individual you appoint to act on your behalf when you are no longer able to do so yourself. You authorize this person to have the power to make decisions and transactions as if they were you.
Your power of attorney may be responsible for your financial and real estate transactions, so it is important to choose someone who will remain unbiased and honor your wishes. In the event that you do not have a power of attorney, a court would step in on your behalf to make these decisions.
While your will may outline how some of your assetswill be distributed, several may be left out. It is important to be very detailed, thorough, and clear when creating your beneficiary designations.
Again, if there is any question or lack of clear direction, the court would step in, and they likely do not know what your intentions were and may not make the decision the way you would have wanted.
Thisis a letter written to the executor detailing your intent of asset distribution after your death or incapacitation. They help to clarify any issues there may have been in your will and are very useful if there is ever a dispute or if a probate judge is needed to carry out your last wishes.
Your will or trust typically includes guardianship designation(s), but some do not. If you have children who are minors, it is important to clearly name who will become their guardian(s) in the event of your passing or inability to care for them.
Estate planning is important at any age of your adult life and helpful for individuals and families of all financial backgrounds. Whether you have a great deal of wealth and assets or live a more modest lifestyle, creating an estate plan is beneficial because it helps ensue your assetswill be properly distributed, should you become incapacitated or pass away.
If you need help checking off all the boxes in your estate planning checklist, the Law Office of Audra Simovitch can help. Contact us today to get started.