An estate plan is a set of documents that work in concert to ensure that your property and assets are distributed when, how, and to whom you choose. Some documents control healthcare decisions, others control your property in the event of your incapacity, and still others will control the distribution of your property in the event of your death.
As you are preparing to work with an attorney to craft a comprehensive estate plan, you should consider a couple of basic issues.
- Beneficiaries: Reflect on the relationships you have with your family and others who are close to you (or those who aren’t!). Beyond your direct nuclear family or close extended family members, consider other important people and organizations in your life. Perhaps there are schools, charities, or religious institutions that are essential to you. Maybe you have pets that you love and want cared for.
- Deciders: Your healthcare surrogate and power of attorney are critical steps to ensuring your wishes are observed even if you become incapacitated or die. You will want to appoint trustworthy individuals who will be capable of making the tough financial and healthcare choices. You can also designate a personal representative to adminster your estate after your death.
- Assets and Wealth: In assessing your wealth, you can likely point to your insurance policies, stocks, bonds, and real estate. But you also ought to consider the nature of your wealth. How are your assets titled? Who else is attached to them? If you are a business owner, do you have partners or investors? How assets are titled affects how they will transfer and to whom.
- Timing: Think about how you would like your assets to be distributed and when. Do you prefer an outright distribution? Would you prefer assets be placed in a trust? Should the distribution wait until after your death or do you want to put assets aside right now?
This is by no means a comprehensive list of the topics to consider before or during the estate planning process. But if you have taken the time to think about these issues above, you will be well on your way.
Get Help Today
We know the estate planning process can seem daunting. That’s why we want to try to make the estate planning and probate process as simple and stress-free as we can. Call (561)998-2362 or click the button to schedule a free Financial Legacy Review online now.