Estate planning involves checking items off your to-do list.
To-do lists are helpful in a variety of circumstances.
They provide a visual representation of what you need to do and what you have already accomplished.
Even so, your list is only as good as the items on it.
According to a recent Spotlight News article titled “Estate Planning To-Dos,” everyone should include certain items on their estate planning to-do list.
What are these?
Discuss plans with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Not having a plan is a terrible idea.
Trying to create your estate plan yourself is also a problem.
Who will stand behind the planning when it becomes really relevant, if you know what I mean?
If you fail to have a plan in place, you will leave your family in stress during times of crisis.
It is important to complete your estate planning before health issues or tragic accidents.
Draft healthcare and financial powers of attorney.
This to-do list item is especially important for incapacity planning.
With a durable power of attorney for healthcare decisions and a general durable power of attorney for financial decisions you provide authority to an agent of your choosing to make decisions on your behalf in an emergency.
Draft a health care treatment directive.
A health care treatment directive is also known as a living will.
This document allows you to communicate your wishes for medical and end-of-life care.
Make a last will.
A last will and testament is absolutely necessary to include on your to-do list for estate planning.
This document is important because it does more than simply distribute assets.
It is also necessary for nominating guardians for minor children and the executor of your estate.
You may also want to include a trust in your estate plan to protect the inheritance for (and perhaps from) your heirs.
Review beneficiary designations.
Certain assets are distributed outside of a last will and testament.
These include life insurance policies, pensions, annuities, and retirement plans.
Instead, these assets are distributed directly to heirs through beneficiary designations.
You should review and update these assets regularly.
After adding these to your to-do list, start checking them off with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney.
Reference: Spotlight News (May 19, 2021) “Estate Planning To-Dos”