5 Considerations for Your Estate Plan
By Solid Serenity Legal Solutions
Many people have a difficult time starting their estate planning. However, the hardest thing to do is start. Start today. Start where you are. Start with these 5 considerations for your estate plan, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you need to do to get your affairs in order for your family.
(1) Know What You Have
It seems pretty simple, when you think about it. But, in order to make a plan for what you have, you have to know what you have. You’d be surprised how many of us really don’t know what all we have, especially if one partner works outside of the home while the other stays home with the children, or one partner takes care of all the finances.
Sit down with your partner and make a list. Include all bank accounts, stocks, real estate, savings accounts, and retirement accounts- and who owns what.
Are most of your assets owned jointly? Do either of you have assets owned by yourself? Write it all out so you have that information for yourself, your family, and the attorney helping you draft your estate plan.
(2) Think About Your Loved Ones
Think about your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, and any other loved ones who are important to you. Take time to consider their health, their ages, their educational needs, and if they will receive government benefits for special needs.
Do you have any concerns about protecting children under the age of 18 that might inherit from you? Do you worry about your loved ones with Special Needs losing their benefits?
If so, you need to account for this in your estate plan.
(3) Determine Your Goals
What are you looking to accomplish with your plan? Do you want your family to avoid the costs, stress, and time of going through the court’s probate procedure? Do you want to avoid estate taxes? Do you need to protect beneficiaries with special needs or of certain ages? Do you want to leave everything to charity?
Make a plan for what you want to see happen to your assets when you’re not there, and how you want your loved ones to benefit from those assets (or not). The tools you need in your estate plan will depend greatly on your own personal goals for you and your family.
(4) Be Aware of Changing Laws
If your retirement plan is a large portion of your estate, you need to be aware of the passage of the SECURE Act and how it will impact your estate plan. Find out more here.
(5) Decide Who You Trust
You must seriously consider who you trust to manage your estate when you can’t. Is there someone in your family who has the ability to run things and manage your finances? If not, is there a corporate Trustee you can rely on?
If you have young children, do you know who you trust to take care of them? You likely know without a doubt who you don’t trust. Make sure you have a plan to protect your children when you can’t.
Once you have decided who you trust and what you want them to do, be sure to give them a head’s up.
If you haven’t started planning for your estate, don’t panic. You can do a lot, in a short amount of time. But, you have to start. Right now. Right where you are. Reach out today to begin!