January is over, but you still have time to take care of one major resolution for the new year: creating an estate plan. Nobody likes to think about the end of their life, especially after a rousing holiday season of fun, family and cheer. But an estate plan is crucial for every adult, especially if you have children or grandchildren you wish to inherit your assets.
To make your estate-planning process simpler, we have compiled a brief checklist that you can consult when planning your estate.
- Take inventory of your assets
You must have a thorough understanding of your assets if you wish to distribute them to your loved ones. Inventory your possessions and other assets like bank accounts, retirement plans, stocks and bonds and real estate. You may wish to work with an appraiser who can accurately assess your assets’ value.
- Create a power of attorney
One crucial document in estate plans is a power of attorney. This allows you to name a loved one to manage your finances and medical care if you become incapacitated. When creating legal documents like a power of attorney or a will, it is important to make sure that they are legally sound and will be upheld in court.
- Designate your beneficiaries
Consider whom you would like to inherit your possessions and other assets. Your will needs to be very clear when naming beneficiaries to help prevent family in-fighting over your will after you die.
- Consider a living trust
A living trust can ensure that certain assets avoid probate. This makes the process faster and more private for your executor and beneficiaries. Courts also tend to uphold living trusts more than they do wills.
The many steps are worth it
Looking at this checklist may feel overwhelming, especially if you have not yet started estate planning. Although the process can take a long time, it is well worth it. Once your estate plan is complete, you will feel satisfied knowing that you have planned for your loved ones’ futures.