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estate planning checklist

By now, you already know an estate plan is an essential part of your life. But creating a plan is more than just drawing up a will. You will want to make sure that your wishes are carried out so your loved ones are protected for years to come. A well-thought-out estate plan is vital whether you are young or old. Let’s look at what you will need for your estate planning checklist.

Assess Your Assets and Debts

Before creating a plan, you must take stock of all your assets and debts. You need to look at:

  • Bank accounts
  • Stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and other investments
  • Real estate properties
  • IRSs, 401Ks, and other retirement accounts
  • Life insurance properties
  • Personal belongings

You will also need to identify all your personal debts, including everything from credit card balances to mortgages. With a clear picture of your financial health, you can better plan for your future. 

Create or Update Your Will

One of the most important parts of any estate plan is the will. This legal document allows you to specify all asset distribution, appoint an executor, and designate guardianship for your children. Even if you already have a will, you will need to review it and make changes if necessary. 

Designate Beneficiaries

One of the main purposes of an estate plan is to pass along assets after your death. With that in mind, you need to designate a beneficiary. You will want to name a beneficiary to your life insurance policies and retirement accounts. In many cases, you should name a second (or third) beneficiary in the event that the initial one predeceases you.  

Establish a Trust 

If you are looking for a way to avoid probate, consider a trust. Trusts are flexible and private options for passing assets to your loved one. There are several options, including revocable and irrevocable trusts. When you transfer assets, you can fund the trust. 

Healthcare Directives and Financial Power of Attorney

If you want to make sure your medical wishes are honored, you need a healthcare directive. This document will provide directions in the event you are incapacitated. Along with that, you may want to appoint someone to handle your financial affairs. The person designated as a power of attorney will make sure to pay your bills, manage your investments, and make financial decisions. 

Gather and Organize Important Documents

When you create an estate plan, you will need a few essential pieces of documentation. Before meeting with an attorney, you will want to gather:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Property deeds
  • Insurance policies
  • Estate planning documents

Consult With an Estate Planning Attorney

When it comes time to create a plan, getting professional advice will help align with your goals. They can help you determine the right options for your needs. 

Remember, estate planning is not a one-time event. 

You will want to regularly review and update your plan to accommodate life changes, new assets, and evolving laws. By taking these steps, you’ll protect your legacy and provide peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones. 

Take the Next Steps for Your Estate Plan

Whether you’re a young professional or a retiree, estate planning is a critical aspect of financial well-being. Using this estate planning checklist is one part of the process. 
Collins Law Firm is here to help with all your needs. Our estate planning legal team can help you build and fight to protect your legacy. Contact us or call (414) 207-6292. Schedule your free and confidential consultation today!

Talk to someone about your estate plan today. Free and Confidential.

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