What Do I Need to Start Planning My Estate?
No matter your net worth, it is important to have at the very least a basic estate plan in place. You should ensure that your family and finances are taken care of when you have passed. Your estate plan will include what you’ll need to avoid the probate process.
So, you want to begin creating your estate plan, but you are confused about the process and where to start. Take a deep breath. With the right help, the process should be a breeze.
What Does an Estate Plan Include?
First of all, know that an estate plan has several elements and is not simple one legal document. A comprehensive estate plan will include, at the very least a healthcare authorization, healthcare power of attorney, a will and a financial power of attorney. For some people with certain types of assets, a trust might also make sense with certain state and federal tax related documents.
1. Gather Personal Information. Names and addresses of your immediate family members or individuals you will like to include in your estate plan, whether they will be a beneficiary, trustee, or executor.
2. Gather Financial Information. List each asset you own and the approximate value. This includes bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts and business interests (to name a few).
When taking stock of all your assets, make sure to include items with emotional value as well, such as jewelry, baseball card collections, family heirlooms, etc.
You should think about each of your assets and who you would like to inherit them. It is also very important to picture life after your death and try to visualize who you would like to run the show for your beneficiaries. This trusted person will handle your affairs.
How We Can Help
This is enough for a start. You do not need to worry about providing any documents or additional information, unless asked. Our office can assist you with this information gathering process by providing you with our Estate Planning Questionnaire which will ask you all the right questions and help you put together the information discussed above. At your initial estate planning consultation, you and I will discuss your answers in detail and come up with a comprehensive estate plan that is unique to your family’s needs.