What Are The 11 Steps In The Estate Planning Process?

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If you have assets that you want to hand down over to your family after your death, then an estate planning process is something you’ll need to know about which you can initiate with the help of an estate planning attorney PG County. Here is everything you need to know about how to start this process.

Settle Your Debts

Before even getting into the process of estate planning, it’s important that you don’t have any debts or money that you owe to someone. You can’t apply for your asset division until all of your debts are clear.

This is important because as soon as an estate planning process begins, a lawyer will appoint a specific person that will go through your financial history and make sure that there isn’t any money owed to anyone.

Have All Of The Documents

When applying for an estate planning process, your lawyer will need to have a look at all of your documents. These documents need to be in one place and organized so that you don’t lose anything.

Common documents include marriage certificates and licenses, divorce certificates, tax returns, life insurance, bank documents like statements and returns, etc. Since these are a lot of papers, you want to keep them organized in a file or folder, so you can produce it on demand.

Prepare A List Of Your Estate

This tip is for your convenience, primarily. If you have a decent number of assets, like property, tangible assets like jewelry and family heirlooms, and intangible assets like trust funds and policies, then it’s good to list them all down in one place and, if you can, mention the value of each asset and the taxes you’ve paid on them, over time.

Listing things down will really help to bring life to the process and you’ll be able to visualize everything a lot better. You can also use this list as a quick reference, in meetings with lawyers and in court hearings.

What’s The Motive?

The next important thing to figure out, in the estate planning process, is to figure out the motive of the process, after the fact. You need to convey the goal of your will and the process. It can be for the necessary provision of the family members, the right division of assets after your death, and so on. Having key goals in your mind and bringing them to reality, through the estate planning process, becomes easier when you have a path of action.

If you don’t have any ideas as to how you should properly proceed with estate planning, then you should consult a legal professional.

Consider Life Insurance

Life insurance is a great way of making sure that your family is financially stable and secure, even after your death. A great thing about life insurance is that you don’t need to pay taxes for the amount that the company pays you.

Your family can use this money to buy and invest in properties and spend on education, setting up a business, and more. They can also use this money to sustain themselves until they’re able to support themselves financially. This is the one thing a lot of lawyers will recommend you, to get done, as soon as possible.

Make A Will

A will is also an important document to make, especially if you want your decisions to be implemented when it comes to asset division and how each beneficiary will be aided. A will is a legal document having all of your decisions and end-of-life arrangements and instructions in one place.

Creating a will is a key part of the estate planning process because it can make the whole process a lot smoother and there’s little to no chance of any misjudgment and the beneficiaries being taken advantage of. Make sure you follow the best practices suggested by your wills and trust attorney Bowie.

Get A Protection Mandate

Even though a will is a good document to get, a protection mandate is also necessary to ensure that your finances and assets are protected at all costs. You want to ensure that you’re getting a protection mandate and have things stated in it, about the important financial decisions to be made.

You can also give authority to a specific and entrusted person to make important decisions and directives, in case you aren’t able to, because of a severe illness. This is a great option for people who are aged and are suffering from disorders that make them vulnerable, like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Go For Advance Directives

Speaking of people being vulnerable, there are going to be times when you’re incapable of making decisions on your own, like important treatment procedures and critical situations, where one decision needs to be made quickly, then you can have someone else do it for you.

An advance directive is a document that allows you to give authority over your medical decisions to one person. It can be anyone from your family and they will be responsible for all major decisions related to your health. If you do these things in advance, then this document is called an advance medical directive.

Express Your Wishes

Although this might be a hard thing for your family, you mustn’t leave this step till the end. Try to make all of your end-of-life arrangements like the way you want your funeral to be held, where you want to be buried, and other associated things.

You might think that this is farfetched, but it’s good to have everything prepared because you never know what the future holds. If you want to take things further, then you can also sign a contract with a funeral home and make funeral rearrangements or advance arrangements.

Decide On The Beneficiaries

Another important thing to decide in an estate planning process is the determination of the beneficiaries or the people who are going to get your assets. The beneficiaries can include:

  • Direct family members, like your spouse and children
  • Your parents and grandparents, if they’re alive at the time
  • Extended family like cousins and people who were helpful to you, in your life
  • Your friends
  • Charities that are close to your heart or are doing work for a good cause
  • Anyone who’s needy that you know and want to help, in any way, shape, or form.

Regular Updation

If you’re preparing a plan for your estate to be divided and you’ve been in the mix of this process for a long time, then it’s a good idea that you regularly update your plan. This can be alterations in the will, making necessary arrangements, adding more assets to your estate plan, the inclusion of new family members, changes in the financial needs of the family, and so on.

Let’s face it, your and your family’s needs won’t be the same forever, so you need to regularly update things in your estate plan with your lawyer or legal officer.

Conclusion

A lot of people tend to overlook estate planning and leave it for another time, but it’s extremely important to think and implement this process before it’s too late because estate planning makes things so much easier. So, connect with your estate planning lawyer Largo and start the process.

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