Developing an estate plan can be the most important aspect of your end-of-life planning process. A solid estate plan can help eliminate the chance for family fights when it comes to dispersing your property, money, and possessions. You’ll need to consider many things when creating an estate plan, including deciding what will be given to which beneficiary, and how to properly plan for expenses like funeral costs.
Finding an Attorney
Once you have decided to seriously pursue putting together an estate plan, it’s time to choose a credible attorney to guide you through the process. Reach out to family members or friends who may have recently developed their estate plans and find referrals for accredited, reputable attorneys. Different legal professionals have varying specialties, so find one with extensive experience in estate planning. It is important that you trust your attorney 100 percent, as you will be divulging highly sensitive information to properly structure your estate plan.
One of the first steps your attorney will walk you through in building your estate plan is assembling a list of your current assets and liabilities. Doing so will help calculate your net worth and determine if you already have a taxable estate, as well as indicating if your loved ones will find difficulty paying the estate tax and other debts after your death.
Choosing an Executor
Who can you trust to act in your best interests in the case of you becoming disabled or after your death? Selecting one or more executors doesn’t have to be a complex decision. You can set up multiple options, each with different functions in different situations. The key is discussing your needs with your potential executors to make sure they are up to the task. Consider their needs and living situations before asking them to take on the responsibility of making major decisions on your behalf.