Creating a will. Establishing a trust. These might feel like far-off objectives or even unnecessary steps, but estate planning is crucial to securing security for your family and your valuable resources.
Estate planning is a process that comes with a lot of questions, which can feel overwhelming but can actually help you understand what’s valuable and what you need to consider as you create a plan.
Here are some to think over as you begin thinking about your estate planning goals:
- Have you planned for joint ownership?
Many people co-own property or accounts. Whether you own your car with your spouse, have a joint checking account, or own a vacation home with several of your siblings, it’s important to consider how property will be transferred in the event of the death of one of the owners. Usually, ownership of any co-owned asset passes to the surviving owner.
- Have you named and designated beneficiaries for all of your assets?
Think about your active accounts, investments, and life insurance policies. One thing that estate planning can help you do is to make sure that everything from your IRA to your 401k and other active investments can a designated beneficiary attached to that. That will ensure that any financial assets in your ownership can be transferred to the person named on your documents.
- Have you made a will?
A will is one of the most basic and important parts of estate planning. It means that you have created a list of people or organizations who should receive your possessions, properties, and assets in the event of your death. Without a legal will, the state can decide how to distribute your assets. A will allows you to have control over your asset division or allocation decisions.
- Have you considered a living trust?
A living trust is a legal document similar to a will with the benefit of allowing your estate to pass to beneficiaries privately, without costly and time-consuming court processes. It also allows you to instruct an individual or trustee on how you want all assets in your trust managed during your lifetime in the event that something that leaves you incapacitated, such as an accident or illness.
- Have you considered a living will?
A living will is a document that states what your wishes would be in the event of an accident or disease where medical life-sustaining efforts would need to be taken to keep you alive without necessarily improving your quality of life. This helps ensure that your doctors and family are aware of your wishes.
- Have you established power of attorney and medical power of attorney?
A power of attorney form protects you in the event that you can’t manage your financial affairs due to illness or other incapacity by designating a person who is legally authorized and responsible to handling your financial activities. Similarly, medical power of attorney helps you appoint someone who can make medical or health decisions on your behalf if you are unable to. Many people assume that a spouse or sibling will automatically take up this responsibility, but what if both parties are involved in the same accident? Or one is out of the country? A thoughtful power of attorney agreement helps to plan for all circumstances.
If you’re not sure what you need to plan for or what you’d need to make everything legal, that’s why we’re here. Our team will help you find out what protections are important to you and ask the questions that will ensure that your future is planned for, bringing comfort and security to you and your family.
You’ve worked hard your whole life, so when it comes to estate planning, you want to make sure to find an experienced estate planning group that has the knowledge and commitment to protecting your assets and ensuring your wishes are honored. By finding out what’s important to you, our experienced team can help you navigate and simplify the state planning process. Contact us today to start investing in your peace of mind.