Estate planning puts important protections in place to safeguard a future you want for yourself, your loved ones, and other things you may deeply care about. With this in mind, what has been keeping you from putting a strong estate plan in place? Many find the process daunting and so it slips further and further down the to-do list. While estate planning does involve a number of important issues to navigate, it does not have to be an overwhelming process. Here are some key items to include in your estate planning checklist to help make the process a bit more manageable and less intimidating.
What Should Be On Your Estate Planning Checklist?
First up on your estate planning checklist should be to make another list, a list detailing your assets and their estimated value. This will likely involve gathering bank and other financial statements, among other things. A large part of an estate plan, after all, involves seeing to it that your assets are properly accounted for and distributed to the right beneficiaries after you pass away, which brings us to the next checklist item.
Consider who you want to inherit what assets after you die. This will likely require considerable reflection and a weighing of a number of factors. Asset distribution upon a loved one’s death can be a great source of contention. Being clear in what assets you want particular people to inherit is important. You may even want to think about talking to your loved ones about your plans for your assets and who will inherit them. Alternatively, or additionally, you may want to detail your reasons for why certain assets are going to particular people within your estate planning documents. This can help your loved ones manage their expectations and understand your reasoning behind the distribution.
In addition to some finding the prospect of estate planning daunting, many may avoid estate planning because it can involve some unpleasant topics. Nonetheless, avoidance is not the way. Confronting these things may be difficult, but remain necessary in order to protect yourself and your wishes. For instance, on your estate planning checklist, you should include an item for deciding what type of life-sustaining health care you would or would not want to receive should you ever be incapacitated in a terminal state. This information will be important to include in your living will, which details your end-of-life health care wishes to help ensure they are honored should such a situation arise in the future.
You will also want to have an estate planning checklist item that involves selecting trusted individuals to fill certain roles of responsibility in your estate plan. For example, you will need to select a person who will take over as the personal representative of your estate and oversee the administration of your estate after you pass away. You will also likely need to select a person who may serve as your agent under a durable power of attorney and health care surrogate. These agents will be responsible for managing your business, legal, and other designated affairs should the need arise. A health care surrogate will be empowered to make health care decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. Take the time to reflect on who would be best suited for these important roles.
Estate Planning Attorneys
For all of your estate planning needs, Jones, Gregg, Creehan & Gerace is here for you. You can trust us to develop a strong, comprehensive, and uniquely crafted estate plan best suited for you and your specific goals and needs. Contact us today.