You probably already know that estate planning is important right? After all, proper estate planning ensures that your wishes regarding your assets are respected and fulfilled after you pass, and that your family is financially taken care of via insurance policies or other financial planning vehicles. Additionally, estate planning also ensures that should you become incapacitated, the right person or people will have the legal authority to act on your behalf, both for making financial decisions and for making healthcare decisions for you. Estate planning can be overwhelming though, which is why we’ve put together the following Estate Planning Checklist to help you get started! You should always meet with an experienced estate planning and family law attorney like Anne Dowden Saxton, but coming to your first consultation prepared with the following information and paperwork may greatly reduce the amount of time you need to spend later on in the process.
Estate Planning Checklist:
- Take inventory of all of your assets.
It’s important to include any and all assets of value in your estate plan. It is often easiest to make two lists: one list of all of your assets, such as insurance policies, bank accounts, unmortgaged property, large collections of value and the like. The second list should include any of your financial liabilities, such as mortgages and other debts.
- Consider how you would like your assets divided, and whether you have any specific assets you would like certain family members, friends or charities to receive upon your death.
This is one of the most important steps to estate planning – determining how and where you want your estate to go. Who do you want to inherit your assets? Who would you like to care for your minor children? Do you want to set aside money in a fund (such as a trust fund) to fund your children’s or grandchildren’s college educations?
- Consider your end-of-life care.
If you become incapacitated, who should manage your financial affairs? Who should make health decisions of your behalf? An advanced health care directive (also called a living will) will give your health care providers specific information about your end-of-life treatment wishes.
- Make sure that your estate plans are kept current.
It is important that you regularly review your estate plans to confirm that none of your wishes, or ownership of your assets have changed. This is especially important to do after any major life event, such as purchasing new property, receiving any lump sums of money, the birth of a new grandchild, etc.
Proper estate planning can relieve a lot of stress on your loved ones during a difficult time. Call the Law Office of Ann Dowden Saxton today to set up a free consultation to discuss your end-of-life planning and estate planning.