All About Estate Planning

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Death is one such subject that nobody wants to talk about but everybody knows it’s there. Immortality has always fascinated humans but we all death is inevitable, one way or another. In the end, everyone has to leave behind all the material things in this world. The prudent thing is to sort them out while one is alive to save his loved ones from getting into any complications. That is why wills are written to cement your wishes in advance so that they may be enforced after you have gone.

Estate planning is the process of listing all your assets and making it known what will go to whom after your death. This may be in the form of

  • Will
  • Power of Attorney

While the will is the last legal document that specifies your possessions and who will inherit them, power of attorney means allowing someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf. Estate planning is, however, wider in its application and includes an accounting of all your assets and specifying the persons you wish to transfer them to. This includes the road map of the whole process and is made sure that others know about it.

Important Steps

Make an Inventory

You must start by making a list of all the valuable items you own. Real Estate, Cash, Jewelry, Vehicles, Arts, Gadgets, or any other thing of material or sentimental value. This list is not finalized till the very end as new things may appear or vice versa.

Your inventory should also include intangible assets like bank accounts, insurance policies, brokerage accounts et cetera. Provide details of the banks/firms holding these accounts.

Arrange your Debts

Make a list of your obligations. This may include your credit cards, mortgages, loans, credit lines, and the likes. You must provide complete information about the people/institutions you owe your debts to.

Make Multiple Copies

After completing your lists, date and sign them to pre-emptively remove any doubt of items added or missing. Next, you have to make multiple copies of them and entrust them to different people or sources like safety deposit boxes.

Update your Beneficiaries

Normally accounts and policies have beneficiaries. In case of the sudden death of the holder, accounts and policies pass directly to them. The same is the case with insurance policies and retirement accounts. Review the list of beneficiaries to make sure that they are current and remove any unwanted person or add anyone as you like.

Appoint an Estate Manager

This person will be in charge of managing your will when you die. Select a trusted and competent individual who is strong enough to make decisions.

Consult an Estate Attorney

It is advisable to consult an estate attorney to review your proposed plan and to guide you through any loopholes you may have left behind. You may also want to revisit your plan as with time, the views and needs of people changes. Make sure to hire a competent, professional firm like Estate Law Queens to walk you through changes in income or estate and tax laws that will directly impact your planning.