Make Estate Plans
Making an estate plan will help ensure that your family is taken care of upon your passing. Estate plans include items such as a will, power of attorney, and guardianship designations. Include a document that lists all bills and accounts in your estate plan. Some people will have extremely complicated estate plans while others may have a very simple plan. It is in your family’s best interest to talk about these things early and often to ensure your wishes are executed smoothly. It’s also wise to consult an estate planning attorney to ensure you are in compliance with your state’s laws and regulations.
Make a Will
A will is one of the most important documents that you can have in an estate plan. It helps ensure that your assets are distributed properly and in accordance with your wishes. If you have minor children a will also ensures that they have a guardian in place to care for them. Remember that you want your will to match your other documents such as life insurance policies.
The purpose of a will is two-fold. A will ensures your family is taken care of by distributing assets and providing guardianship instructions. It also helps ensure that the courts will not have to decide these matters for you in probate. Each state has different guidelines to follow, which may not align with your desires. An estate plan should be designed to protect your most valuable assets, your family.
A trust is “an arrangement where a trustee holds and manages property or other assets on behalf of a beneficiary. The trustee is the nominal owner of the property or assets and the beneficiary is the beneficial owner.” As as you begin building wealth a trust will be extremely beneficial to have in your estate plan. A trust will determine how your assets are distributed while you are alive or upon your death. It allows you to be very specific in your wishes and desires. Talk to an estate planning attorney in your area to find out more information about setting up a trust.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney can act in your place to make decisions for you in a variety of situations. They can be appointed to act on your behalf in cases of physical or mental incapacity. Their ability to act on your behalf can be broad and all inclusive or it can be very specific. Be sure to consult an estate planning attorney to set this up in order to comply with state laws.
A will is not the only document that has beneficiary designations. You need to ensure that your retirement accounts and insurance documents accurately represent your designated beneficiaries. Take into consideration the age your beneficiaries as well. Depending on your state your beneficiary may not be old enough to receive the money without it going through the courts.
Account Listing & Special Notes for Estate Plans
An account listing is nothing more than a document with your accounts listed out. It should also include special information needed to access those accounts such as login IDs or passwords. The purpose of this document is to simplify things for your family. It places all the information they need to find and access your accounts in one location. Be sure to include things such as: life insurance policies, banking accounts, retirement funds, and household bills.
Consider including special instructions and notes to your family members in an estate plan. Including special notes to your family members is a way to remind your family how much you loved them. Special instructions also help them to plan your funeral in a specific way.
Estate Plan Considerations
No one really likes to think about their end of life. Making preparations while you are still alive and healthy can make a difficult situation a little bit easier on your family. It’s wise to sit down regularly to review, update, and revise anything that you may have included in your estate planning. Keeping your family informed of your plans will also help things go a little smoother upon your death.
One of the easiest things to do when creating an estate plan is to keep all of your documents in one place. Your family and the executor of your estate should know where these documents are located. They should also be fully aware of your wishes. The executor of your estate should have a clear understanding in regards to your documents and your wishes as explained in your estate plan.
How well you plan now will make a huge impact later in life. We do not know when our time will come, but it always comes. An estate plan does not need to be complex, but it should accurately reflect your wishes. Estate plans are an important part of experiencing Financial Freedom!
For more information on estate planning or any other money related manner please contact Jeremy by calling 573-208-4266.