Life is full of surprises. When the unexpected happens, you want your loved ones to be prepared. Do your part to make that happen with intentional and thorough estate planning.
Whenever you have free time, take advantage of it by revisiting your estate plan. Here’s how:
- Create or revisit your will. This one document is the starting point for all estate planning. A valid will saves your loved ones months of headaches debating your desires and endless hours waiting for probate.
- At its most basic, a will identifies your executor (the person you’ve chosen to execute your will), lists your assets, and names your beneficiaries — including new grand-babies. It’s important to keep your will updated as your family grows or relationships change.
- Track down necessary documents. Now is the time to track down documents related to estate planning. Everyone needs the big four: a will, an advance directive, a medical power of attorney, and a financial power of attorney. Depending on your estate, you may need other legal documents.
- List your assets and debts. You may think your spouse or children have it covered, but chances are they don’t. Compiling all your assets and liabilities in one master list will make estate planning and end-of-life issues a little easier to bear.
Include your real estate assets as well as valuable personal property items in your home, garage, backyard, warehouse, storage unit, or small business.
- Another list should detail your bank and brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, and insurance policies. Make sure to include current password information and ensure a spouse or family member is authorized to manage your accounts.
Lastly, list your credit card debts, mortgage, lines of credit, and any outstanding consumer loans.
- Take the next step. After you have gathered this information, work with a qualified wealth management advisor. Do-it-yourself estate planning is not recommended, especially if your estate is large enough to trigger financial, legal, or emotional issues upon your passing.
While it’s difficult to imagine life after you’re gone, making sure your estate is in order is a final act of love and care for those you leave behind. We have created a document to help your data collection and to use as a reference for your heirs after you are gone. Click here to access it.