It might feel morbid doing estate planning, but it’s a necessary step for anyone. However many assets you may have, you will need to set in writing what you want to be done with them. Knowing the what, why, and how of it all guides you through the process.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning involves several different things. Mostly, estate planning revolves around creating a will and then filing it. Simply put, it is the process of deciding what happens to your stuff once you have passed. While hard, it is a vital step in life.
Why Estate Planning Is Important
Estate planning is important because it’s your last chance to state your intentions. You will make decisions regarding how your assets are distributed when you pass away. Since you won’t be able to speak for yourself, you need to state your wishes in writing early. Otherwise, your survivors might wind up caught in a court fight at the very time they are mourning. Don’t let your passing be what drives a family apart.
Should You Hire an Estate Planning Attorney?
While you have the right to decide who gets what, there are laws that need to be followed if your will is to get executed properly. An estate planning attorney can help you prepare for that, and they might even be able to help defend the will after you are no longer in this world. Planning out a complicated estate can take time, and having an attorney will make it easier. They can also be beneficial in helping you minimize tax burdens to preserve as much of your estate as possible when it’s passed on to your designated heirs.
How to Go About Estate Planning
To start, you designate particular heirs and list what assets of yours they should receive. Think of the life you’ve shared with your heirs and how you have connected with them. Be thoughtful as you distribute your estate.
Next, you might arrange for a burial plan and even pre-pay for funeral expenses. The fewer decisions that they will have to make about burial, the better. Decide what you would like to be done with you once you’ve passed. Whatever you choose, make it yours. Don’t follow tradition if it’s not what you want.
After that, you might want to include a living will or give someone medical power of attorney. That way they can make healthcare decisions for you if you are incapacitated and unable to do so yourself.
Finally, make sure that survivors or descendants know where to find it and properly execute it when the time is right. Not being able to locate a will could be an extreme burden on your family.
Estate planning is something that you should do at least once so you have some preparations in place. However, it’s also something you should revisit anytime your personal or financial circumstances change enough. Keep your estate plan and will up-to-date to reflect your life as it is now. But remember that this is your legacy. Make it yours.
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