Estate Planning | How To Plan Your Estate
Estate Planning | The time to carry out estate planning is before anything happens. By completing this checklist, individuals can make sure that they and their family are protected no matter what happens. Once the plan is made, the estate plans should be rechecked every three to five years to ensure that it is still in line with the individual’s needs and current situation.
Make a Will
The first step is to make a will to determine what happens with the estate. This prevents arguments and disputes later. A will should be made with a lawyer to prevent any loopholes that open the door to a future dispute.
Choose Health Care Directives
If the individual becomes disabled or incapacitated, they need a living will to determine how they will be cared for and who holds the power of attorney for health care.
File Beneficiary Forms
With a beneficiary form, individuals can name the bank accounts of their beneficiary so that the money automatically transfers and skips the probate process following a death.
Think About Trusts
A living trust can prevent survivors from going through the expensive, long probate process. It may also help to save on tax costs later on.
Get Life Insurance
Life insurance is a necessity for anyone with significant debts or dependents. It should always be included as a part of estate planning. If the insurance holder dies or is incapacitated, insurance can help the family to cover costs while they figure out other options.
Plan Out Final Arrangements
Family members need to know about organ donation and funeral expectations. Funeral costs can be significant, so it is important to plan ahead for this cost so that survivors do not have to.
Choose a Financial Power of Attorney
If the individual is incapacitated, someone else has to handle their finances. Choosing a financial power of attorney ensures that bills, expenses and financial matters are managed efficiently no matter what happens.
Store Documents Securely
For a will, insurance policy or trust to be useful, the executor of the will must be able to find them. Documents like insurance policies, real estate deeds, wills, trusts, debt information, bank account information, retirement plans and stock certificates should be kept in a place where the executor can find them.