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Originally Posted On: https://johnsonturner.com/blog/2023/march/estate-planning-everything-you-need-to-know/
Do you want to know what to do before you die? Read this article to discover everything you need to know about estate planning!
67% of American people don’t have any kind of estate plan in place. People put this vital component of their life off for several reasons. Perhaps you don’t feel like you have anything to leave behind or anyone to leave your valuables to.
Estate planning is still necessary regardless of how much or little you plan to leave behind you. Otherwise, your car, home, and even your savings could go to the wrong people. Take control of your mortality by planning your estate with care.
It’s easy to plan your estate with the right help. Find out how below.
Make a List of All Your Valuables
To begin planning your estate, make a detailed list of everything you own and its value. Start with big items, such as property. At this stage, you can also plan out who you would like to leave these larger items to.
Then consider your rarer or more niche valuables. You may have inherited or purchased art, jewelry, or other collectible items. It’s important to note this in your list as it can be a point of contention when it comes to the reading of your will.
If you are unsure how valuable a particular item is, you can always get an appraisal. Make sure you choose a reputable appraiser who will give you an honest monetary estimate.
Consider Your Loved Ones’ Needs
Before deciding who you want to leave your valuables to, consider what your loved ones would want. Almost everyone likes receiving money, but if you have other possessions to give, it is important to dole these out fairly.
For example, if you have a child who has recently gone through a divorce and is now living with you, it may feel right to leave them your property. Make sure you discuss this with any other children you have so they don’t feel jilted.
Keep in Mind Your Non-Physical Assets
Many people overlook the importance of non-physical assets when they are planning their estate. These include savings, investments, and even insurance policies.
If you own anything on paper, it should be considered when you’re planning your estate. By offering this information to your loved ones, you ensure that everything you owned before your death is put to good use.
If you have non-physical assets to leave behind, include any account numbers, necessary passwords, and all other relevant information needed to access them. If not, it may be impossible for anyone else to see their value or take ownership of them.
Know What Debts You Owe
Unfortunately, your debts do still have to be paid following your death. These are generally collected from the estate you leave behind.
Ideally, you’ll be able to pay off any debts you have before your death. This will allow the entirety of your estate to go to your loved ones. However, if this is not possible, make sure you leave behind all the relevant information on your debts so they can be easily cleared.
Choose an Estate Administrator
An estate administrator is in charge of overseeing your will following your death. Choose someone who you trust and who is mentally sound to step into this position.
Many people choose their partner, however, this is not a requirement. Sometimes it is better to pick a person who will not be emotionally traumatized by your death, as your partner might be. You could choose a friend, colleague, or more distant relation like a cousin.
Draft Your Will
Many people mistake planning our will and planning your estate for the same thing. However, your will is just one small part of your estate plan. It’s important to make a draft of your will so you can decide to whom you want to leave your assets.
An attorney can help you plan your will if you’re unsure how to get started. Even having a basic draft is a great way to simplify the entire process.
Start by writing down the names of everyone you would like to leave something to after you die. Cross-reference this with your list of assets to decide who should receive what. Remember, you can always contact your loved one to inform them of what they can expect to receive in your will.
Speak With an Estate Planning Attorney
If you’re feeling confused or frustrated when estate planning, an attorney can help. They’ll inform you of what documents you need, how to draft your will correctly, and how best to avoid any conflict concerning your estate.
Always choose an attorney with a good level of experience. Ask for their credentials and check out their reviews before hiring them. You’ll gain a better understanding of their skill level and professionalism.
Work with Johnson/Turner Legal to get professional legal advice. If you’re curious about how family law, child custody, and elder law could affect your estate, Johnson/Turner can help. You’ll enjoy a flat fee cost for services as opposed to hourly rates.
Make Changes as You Go
Remember that planning your estate doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to die soon. Everyone older than 18 years old should have at least a basic estate plan in place.
As you get older, your assets and debts are likely to change. You should update your estate plan to reflect these changes. Otherwise, you risk leaving something behind you that is no longer yours to leave.
Getting married, having children, and even winning the lotto will all have an impact on your estate. Checking in on it and making small updates is the best way to ensure everything runs smoothly following your death.
Begin Your Estate Planning Journey Today
Estate planning is an important part of having control over your death. It allows you to leave behind important and helpful items for the people you care about.
In doing so, you not only get to positively impact your loved ones financially. You also secure your memory and have a meaningful influence after you die.
Contact our team today to find out more about estate planning.