What is estate planning?
As the name implies, estate planning is a plan designed to manage and distribute the assets of a deceased after his death or incapacitation. An estate plan helps facilitate the distribution of the deceased assets upon his death. Without an estate plan, the deceased assets will be shared based on the intestate law of the state. The process isn’t always smooth and it can cause disharmony in a family.
With that said, let’s take a look at the 8 essential steps for estate planning,
- Create a will and testament
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not drafting a will and testament to mirror your most basic wishes. Even with the significance of a will and testament, a huge percentage of American still don’t have these important documents. Will and estate lawyers can help you draft a will or an estate plan. Contact them and don’t delay!
- Select a power of attorney
A second step we recommend is selecting a power of attorney. A power of attorney is an individual chosen by you to make important health care and financial decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. You might seek a lawyer who can take up this role, bringing legal expertise into the equation.
- Ask an attorney about living revocable trusts
The third step is to ask either your will or estate lawyers about setting up a revocable trust. Here is why: when you pass away, your estate may undergo a process known as probate. Probate is costly, stressful, and time-consuming process. One of the best ways to avoid this process, is by setting up a revocable trust.
- Create an advanced healthcare directives
After setting up a living revocable trust, the next step is preparing an advanced healthcare directive. An advanced healthcare directive, also known as a living will, consist of your end-of-life preferences. It covers all your requests, like whether you want to be resuscitated following a heart attack, or if you wish to be fed via a tube.
- Obtain life insurance
Most estate owners often ignore life insurance when planning their estate. Make sure you have a life insurance set up, and that your policy provides enough coverage for loved ones who are still dependent on you. Your lawyer can advise on how much coverage is required.
- Select beneficiaries
After laying out the assets in your estate, it is essential to name the specific individuals you wish to benefit from it, including individual who may get distributions from your trust, URA, etc. Worthy to note is that the individuals listed on your IRS beneficiary form will trump anyone else listed in your estate planning, so it makes sense to keep these documents updated as your family dynamics is altered.
- Select a healthcare proxy
A health care proxy, similar to a power of attorney, allows you to designate an individual who can make decisions for you should you become incapacitated. However, this individual is limited to making just medial decisions.
- Keep your documents in the appropriate place
The final step of planning your estate involves choosing a safe and accessible place to store your estate planning documents. Ensure that the paperwork are organized and kept in a single place. In addition, your spouse or a close member of the family should be aware of the location so they are easy to find upon your passing.
Need an estate planning attorney?
Planning an estate can be a complicated process. It involves a lot of paperwork and legal documents like power of attorney, trust, will, etc. Thus, if you want to plan your estate the right way, it is important that you contact a professional.
An estate planning attorney can help you in several ways. This professional can help you plan your estate and help you create the necessary estate planning documents. If you need to update your estate plan, this professional can be of help as well. Also, if you have concerns or questions, contacting an estate planning attorney is the best way to find answers.
We boast of competent estate planning attorneys who can help you navigate the tough estate planning process. Simple get in touch with our office so we can offer you or your loved ones our professional services.