The first thought which crosses our mind while thinking of estate planning is drafting a will. However, it comprises an intricate procedure to account for your assets and ensure their smooth transfer to your chosen person or entity. Today we are going to discuss tips to help plan your estate:
- Primarily, you need to itemize your inventory consisting of all the assets you own both inside and outside your house. Some examples of such inventories are jewelry, television sets, art and antiques, lawn equipment, computers, power tools, etc.
- Once you have listed the tangible assets, it is time to list down the intangible ones like your entitlements and ownerships on paper. Life insurance policies, bank accounts, brokerage accounts are some examples of these intangible assets that need to be listed. It is also imperative to mention the location of your physical documents and related account numbers.
- On completing your assets, you need to move over to the liabilities section. A separate list has to be prepared for your obligations like mortgages, auto loans, etc. You will also have to jot down information about companies holding the debt, location of signed agreements, etc.
- If you hold membership of any college alumni group, professional accreditation organization, etc. then you need to come up with a membership list. These organizations offer accidental life insurance benefits which can be availed by your beneficiaries. There might be organizations you support. In such cases, you should inform your beneficiaries about the same so that they can make donations in your memory.
- After you have made these three lists mentioned above, you will have to make a minimum of three dated and signed copies. You can give the first one to your estate administrator, the second to your spouse or immediate family, and keep the third with yourself.
- Your annuities and life insurance will also pass to the beneficiaries. You can ease the process by contacting your insurance company and ensuring that your beneficiaries are listed correctly and in an up-to-date manner.
- An estate administrator is given the responsibility of administering your will. This is why selecting a responsible individual having a stable mental state is of paramount importance. We often make the mistake of assuming our spouse to be the best choice. But this might not always be true as emotions related to a loved one’s demise can be mentally tasking on ones close to them. It is always best to entrust a qualified individual with the task.
- A will can be drafted by anyone above the age of 18. Timely preparation of a will helps prevent problems within your heirs in days to come. It appoints guardians for your minor children and also caregivers for your pets. The fairly-inexpensive nature of will drafting can have you back even if you are not very financially sound. Once the will is drafted, it should be signed in front of two non-related witnesses and subsequently notarized.
Getting an attorney for estate planning can be of great assistance in identifying your unique requirements and coming up with potential solutions to guide you through the whole process.