Planning your estate is of the utmost importance for a variety of reasons. Whether the main goal of planning your estate is for financial security, or simply limiting or culling excess taxes, estate planning doesn’t necessarily have to be an overly complicated affair.Your objectives for estate planning will probably share little similarity to the local grocer (unless you happen to be the local grocer) because like all people, all estates are similarly unique. However, there are generally some universal, basic rules that anyone can follow regardless of what their estate entails. Although our guides are a fantastic and helpful stating point that anyone can afford, here are some things to keep in mind when planning an estate so that you can keep the process free of complication and efficient.
Although it sounds overly rudimentary, the first step in this seemingly archaic process is figuring out what you actually know what to put in your estate plan. Many people get so far ahead of themselves that they don’t really take a look at what is going to be dispersed when they’re gone. To do this, all you need to do is grab a legal pad and pen, and start listing all of your assets and possessions. Don’t overcomplicate the process, but include enough detail to make the effort worthwhile, including things like financial accounts, IRAs, stocks, and property held by you or that you have a stake in.
As soon as you figure out what you have, consider the priorities that you have, as well. This is the step people usually start with when trying to plan an estate with online forms, which causes a lot of people to go in a direction completely different from what they otherwise would have, and also forgetting things along the way. Are you looking to take care of your loved ones fairly? Or are you trying to keep the government from dipping into the well you worked so hard to dig? These sometimes can be very different results. Having that final result in mind, though, before going further, will help provide a path to follow that will get you to that end destination.
Which brings us to the point most people dread when planning an estate: the distribution of all those items listed and how that will be conducted. For instance, a trust fund might provide someone money, but only under the condition that they are employed fulltime. With regards to family heirlooms, this is usually best handled by a spouse or a sibling, but in the end, the choice belongs solely to you. You are the one planning your estate, not someone else. Do not enter into this hastily, though, as something that might be of low to moderate sentimental value could be something that means a lot to another family member.
This is only a very superficial look at the estate planning process and will planning process, but hopefully they can help you in your efforts to leave something behind for those you love. To find out more, find what you’re looking for in out Wills, Trusts, and Estates section and get started today.