As we approach the sunset years of our lives, its important to realize our family will still be left behind once we pass on. With an estimated 6 in 10 US adults not having their estate properly planned there has never been a better time to sit down and do it.1 Find the best Estate Planner Attorney near you now.
Having a carefully planned estate can safeguard your loved ones for years to come. Without a professionally catered estate plan, lengthy court battles can arise over the properties of your lifetime. Do not leave your family left behind with confusing and stressful ordeals because your will was not in place.
To some surprise there is more to estate planning then simply writing a will. Accounting for all assets and designating beneficiaries to retirement accounts you can keep those assets from falling out of your will. If you’re a senior without appropriate estate planning in place this guide can help clear up some of the confusion.
Tally Up Your Estate
The first thing recommended before you do anything else is to sit down with a pen and paper and list all the properties that you own. This list should include everything you own with perceived value, from your house to vehicles to vintage souvenirs collected over the years. This list should include jewellery, electronics, art, antiques and even power tools in the old shed of yours. Whatever properties you own make sure you have all the relevant titles and associated documents to make it easy for the estate planning professional.
Any Non Physical Assets?
Now is the time to add all the different non physical assets you own. We often have missing retirement fund accounts from earlier jobs in our lives so back tracking through the chapters can help us job the memory. This part of the list should contain bank accounts, life insurance policies, 401k plans, IRA’s, auto loans and health insurance policies. It is a good practice to also write down the account numbers and using any physical documents allocated towards these accounts.
Do You Carry Any Debts?
An ofter overlooked part of the will is any debts you may carry to your name. Leaving a burden of open debts to your family can create overwhelming stress and worry when they had no idea it was there. Any obligations you have including auto loans, mortgages, tax debts or credit cards its important to list these liabilities. It’s even a good idea to write down the cards you have never used which you’ve left in your drawer for safety uses only.
Time To Choose Your Executor
With estates it is a vital piece that you pick one person you trust with the responsibility of handling the administration of the estate once you’re gone. This person will help to make sure the wishes in your will are carefully taken care of and can act as a signature on your estates behalf. Usually this is a family member or a dear friend who is mentally capable of making professional and respectable decisions regardless of how other members feel of your wishes.
Do You Need A Power of Attorney?
As we age you never know whats going to happen around the corner. In our senior lives circumstances can change quickly and our health can quickly deteriorate. A Power of Attorney is an advanced directive that allows someone you trust to help with decisions whilst you’re still alive. Such ailments as Alzheimers, MS, Cancers and long hospital stays can lead to struggles to make appropriate decisions on your own estate. A child, a spouse or a trusted friend may be giving the rights of Power of Attorney to help with your estate. Such powers will include paying bills, managing properties, allocating finances and making medical decisions.
Make Sure You Photocopy Your Lists
When these lists are carefully curated and completed covering all aspects of your life you should date and sign them. The original copies should be handed to the chosen executor or Power of Attorney. With the additional copies you should pass them to your spouse and your professional estate planner who will safeguard these documents.
Keep Your Insurances Updated
With all accounts related to health insurances, retirement funds and life insurance you need to keep these organisations up to date. Maintaining policies for each year will help to make sure there is no drastic changes that you’re unaccounted for.
Using Professional Estate Planners
Now whilst you think you’ve covered all the bases of your estate planning it is paramount importance to consult with a professional. There are many legal loopholes that exist in different states so no advice is for all. Sometimes without professional estate planning excessive taxation and government intervention on your estate may take place. This will bar your family from receiving your estate and may end up in lengthy court processes. Estate attorneys offer very affordable fees to those who have already taken the time to draft a carefully curated estate.
Find Local Estate Planners Now
If you’re in your sunset years and not completed a professional estate plan you’re apart of the 60% of Americans without a will. To make sure your family is safeguarded beyond your lifetime and protecting the hard earned assets from your working life this is an important step. There are countless professionals in your locality ready to handle and answer any questions you have. A simple online search can give you contact numbers to try today.