10 Things to Do to Get Your Estate Plan in Order
We’ve all heard the saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” which is applicable to many areas of life, especially when it comes to getting your estate plan in order. Regardless of if you have a modest collection of assets or a sprawling estate with high value assets, it’s very important to set aside the time to effectively account for how you want your estate and final wishes to be handled after you pass away.
That’s why the attorneys here at Burrows Law Group have assembled an estate planning checklist to help you draft and secure an estate plan that’s tailored to your needs and suits your family in the manner you see fit.
Our Estate Planning Checklist
- Take an Inventory of Your Estate – All the items you own, including any real estate property, vehicles, jewelry and other physical assets are considered part of your estate, so taking an inventory of everything you own is the first step to figuring out your estate plan.
- Decide if You Need a Trust – Do you see a need to hold your assets in a trust for your spouse or children? Whatever you decide, you’ll also need to appoint a Trustee, who will be responsible for managing the assets in the trust.
- Know Who You Want to Appoint as Guardian – If you have minor children, you’ll want to appoint a Guardian; someone who will have physical and legal control over your children until they turn 18.
- Have an Idea Who You Want as Executor – The Executor of your estate is responsible for probating your will, paying any debts, collecting your assets and settling your estate matters, so you’ll want to appoint someone who can handle the responsibility.
- Decide How You Want Your Estate Distributed – Whether you’re married or single, you’ll need to think about how you want your estate distributed to any heirs or beneficiaries.
- Think About Who You Want as Power of Attorney – Your Power of Attorney will act on your behalf (i.e., pay bills, manage assets, communicate, etc.) if you become incompetent or unable to sign your own documents.
- Decide if You Want a Living Will – Also known as a Directive to Physicians, a Living Will outlines your wishes in regards to having life-support withdrawn in the event of you sustaining an irreversible or terminal condition, wherein you become dependent on artificial life-sustaining measures.
- Have a Will Drafted – A will acts like a roadmap that dictates the distribution of your assets upon your death and answers the who, what, when, where and how of inheritance. It’s best to meet with an estate planning attorney when drafting a will because he or she will know exactly what elements to account for.
- Schedule a Consultation with an Estate Planning Attorney – An experienced attorney will be able to navigate the whole estate planning process and address any questions or concerns you may have about your estate plan as well as facilitate its development.
- Secure Your Documents in a Safe Place – Your attorney and/or Executor may need access to important estate planning documents (i.e., last will and testament, trusts, deeds of real estate, stocks, bonds, credit card information, retirement plans, mortgage/loan documentation, final arrangements, etc.) after you pass on. So it’s important to keep these documents in a safe place—like a personal safe or safety deposit box—and let your attorney and/or Executor know how to access them upon your death.
Contact Burrows Law Group for Estate Planning Help
If you decide you need additional clarification or assistance after going through our estate planning checklist, please don’t hesitate to contact Burrows Law Group at your earliest convenience. Our estate planning attorneys will be happy to sit down with you and discuss your needs.