Planning your legacy can be complicated. While the business of estate planning may be daunting, we’ve created a checklist that highlights the most important tasks. Let’s take a closer look.
Create a Comprehensive Inventory
Before you can protect your legacy, you will want to know what documents are needed for estate planning. Make an inventory of the following:
- Values of your home & any other real estate.
- Statements from bank accounts, retirement accounts, & investments.
- Insurance policies, their payouts, & death benefits.
- Liabilities including mortgages, lines of credit, & any other debts.
- List the locations of valuables and safety deposit boxes & contents.
[ Related: Find an Estate Planning Worksheet Here ]
Once you’ve done this, you’re ready for the next part of the four important estate planning factors.
Create Your Estate Plan
Set a date to meet with a lawyer thatspecializes in estate planning. Consider these questions as your meeting approaches, noting any answers you’re unsure about.
- To whom do you want your assets given? In what percentages?
- If you have minor children, whom will be their caregivers? How much will they need to be cared for in terms of education and day-to-day expenses?
- Who will manage your affairs in the event that you’re incapacitated?
- To whom will you give the responsibility of distributing your assets?
[ Related: How to Discuss Retirement With Your Parents ]
Carry Out Your Plan
Meet with your attorney and finalize your estate plan and will. This will include setting up trusts, creating medical and financial powers of attorney, if needed.
Bear in mind that living trusts need to be funded immediately in order to take effect. Not doing so may disrupt the transfer of these funds to the intended recipient.
Make sure beneficiaries are consistent with your estate plan by checking your insurance and retirement accounts. This essential task may be overlooked once you’ve completed your estate planning checklist.
Assets included in living trusts need to have their titles changed to reflect an ownership change. Copies of these documents need to be kept in your records.
Keep Tabs on Your Estate Plan
This step is easy. Once you’ve finalized your plan with your attorney, you need to only periodically update your estate plan.
Do this when there is a major life change (marriage/divorce, birth/death, etc.) and update your beneficiaries as needed. Changes will not be made unless you initiate them.
Regularly updating your estate plan will ensure that your legacy goes to the intended recipients.
[ Related: How the SECURE Act May Impact Your Finances ]
Estate Planning Checklist
The professionals at Argent Bridge Advisors can advise you regarding the best practices for estate planning.
To learn more about Argent Bridge, call us to schedule a consultation at (833) 568-4900.