Estate planning is much more than simply writing a will. It is a process that involves making decisions about managing your personal assets and the kinds of ownership your assets may take, and how they may be transferred to others, at the time of your death. It also addresses your personal needs, for instance, planning for your health care if you are not able to care for yourself.
We can help. Here are three essential estate planning guidelines to consider.
A. Make Sure Your Will Is Current.
Do I really need a will? Yes. Anyone who owns a car, furnishes a home, owns land or a house should consider a will. For example, having a will allows you to specify:
Who to leave property to, family friends, and organizations
Name a guardian to care for your children, and manage their inheritance
Name an executor to handle your affairs
B. Establish Health Care Directives
Taking time to plan and write out your desires for your health care can protect you, and helps your loved ones understand what you want should you become unable to communicate or make decisions about your heath and medical care.
C. Make Your Beneficiaries Known
Complete the forms that let you name your desired beneficiaries for bank accounts, retirement plans, and other financial assets so they are transferred to the people you designate.
Estate Planning Basics
You will rest assured that your assets will be awarded to the people you wanted to have them, and the charitable organizations that have impacted your life. This single most important document gives you the opportunity to express your wishes, your values, and care for your family at the time of your death.
Here's a helpful checklist to assist in your planning at will.
A. Decide what property to include--list your major assets.
B. Determine who will inherit your property--list first choice as well as alternate choices.
C. Choose an executor--select someone with whom you trust will carry out the terms of your will.
D. Choose someone to manage your children's property--select an adult to manage what your children will inherit.