Estate Planning | 4 Simple Steps To An Estate Plan
Estate Planning | A powerful tool for protecting your assets and your life. While many equate estate plans to wills, which are generally only used after death, estate planning can actually be useful at all stages of life. Estate plans are particularly important if you have plans in mind for future generations. To create a comprehensive estate plan, follow the steps below.
- Make A List of Assets
Start by making a list of all the assets you currently have or that you know you will inherit. This includes anything with a monetary value of significance. Investment accounts, retirement accounts, and life insurance policies are just as important as collections of antiques, electronics, and property. As a general rule, you should include all assets that value $500 or more and all assets that have an emotional significance.
- Decide What You Want
Decide what you want to do with each of the assets on your list. Avoid legal terms here and focus on practical outcomes. Do you have heirloom jewelry that you don’t want to be sold? Do you want your life insurance policy paid out to your child, but only after they reach a certain age? Write down all the contingencies for each asset.
- Think About Healthcare
Ask yourself some hard questions about your healthcare, particularly how you want life-or-death decisions to be made and who you trust to make those decisions. Write down everything you want (or don’t want). You may want to speak with family members or your primary care physician about specific questions when making these decisions.
- Talk to a Lawyer
Once you’ve written down everything you want to do with your assets and your healthcare, it’s time to meet with an estate planning attorney. Take all your notes and talk to a lawyer about what you can do to make sure your wishes are met. If you need a written estate plan to accomplish your goals, your attorney will be able to talk you through the specific process and the tools you need to meet your goals.