When you die without settling your estate (by clearly stating how each of your assets would be disposed and who they will go to) through a will or trust or other estate planning tool, your surviving family and loved ones have to go through a lot of trauma doing your job for you and the state may have different wishes concerning said estate due to intestacy, which most likely would not benefit them as you may have wished. To avoid such discrepancies, below are 12 things which you must put in place before dying:
1. Take inventory of your assets
2. Take inventory of all intangible assets
3. Itemize your debts
4. Pen down your membership list
5. Ensure safety for these lists
6. Ensure your beneficiaries are correctly designated for each asset
Make a review of all your accounts, retirement accounts and insurance policies, ensuring that the beneficiary designated to each is as you currently desire. Each of these retirement accounts, annuities and insurance policies will pass on directly to the beneficiary regardless of your specification on how it’s to be done. You may need to contact your fiduciary, employer customer service team, or the estate planning lawyer in your service to ensure your beneficiaries are currently as you wish.
7. Draft a will
A will is a very important and inexpensive estate planning document which every adult citizen should have. Most estate planning lawyers will help you create your will at a considerable rate, and will individualize the will based on the complexity of your estate such that your personal wishes would be effectively executed at your death. Ensure you designate a competent executor who would see to it that your instructions are carried out. You should seek and contact one of the best estate planning lawyers around you for legal advise and assistance in drafting your will. Have copies of your will and keep the original in a safe, while your executor gets a copy. However, only the original will bearing your handwritten signature will be probated in court.
8. Update your will regularly
From time to time, check your will to see if it meets with all your current heart desires. Birth of a new baby, new marriages, divorce, etc., may influence a change to your choice of beneficiary, and as such you should duly apply such changes.
9. Make use of the TOD feature
10. Consolidating your accounts
11. Other important documents
12. Contact an estate planning lawyer
You may think that you have covered all possible loopholes and may fold your hands to rest, but any slightest mistake can render your estate to shambles. As you get older, there may arise a need to update your will, insurance policies, healthcare documents, possibly because of changes in state regulations and tax laws, which would invariably affect your bequests. To ensure you are constantly on a right footing with the law, contact and hire into your service a competent estate planning lawyer near you with whom you have to maintain a regular feedback.
Do not wait until it is too late. Start planning for your future and that of your family now. Contact an estate planning lawyer today.