Did you know that your state decides what happens to your assets if you die without a will? Do you want your state to make these decisions for you, or would you prefer to make the decisions yourself?
Most people want to control who gets their things when they die, but many go without an estate plan. If you want to provide a plan and peace of mind, you’ll need to create an estate plan.
An estate plan doesn’t have to be complex, but it should include some estate planning basics. Here are some basic principles for creating an estate plan for your family to follow.
Start With an Estate Planning Checklist
If you’ve never spent any time working on your estate plan, you might want to start with an estate planning checklist. A checklist provides a way to determine your objectives for your plan.
Here are several things to include on your list:
- Your goals
- The assets you have
- Your beneficiaries
- Your final wishes
These are several ideas of things you can place on your checklist. An estate planning attorney can help you determine other things to add. Once you have a list, you can begin working on your plan.
Create a Last Will and Testament
A last will and testament is the most prevalent type of estate planning tool you can use for your plan. You can accomplish numerous things with a will.
One thing you can do is name your beneficiaries and list the assets you want them to receive after you die. As you write these things, you should be as specific as possible.
Secondly, you can include instructions about your final wishes. Does your family know what to do with your body when you die? If not, they might not do what you want, so you should include these details in your will.
You can also use your will to include details about caring for your minor children. If you have young kids, you’ll need a plan to protect them if you die.
These are just some of the things you can do with a will. While having a will is vital, it’s not the only tool you can use for your estate plan.
Use Other Tools
Another tool people often use in their estate plans is a trust. When you create a legal trust, you can place your assets in it. By doing this, it simplifies the process of transferring assets to your beneficiaries.
You might also benefit by creating a living will. This document controls how your family handles your medical decisions if you become impaired.
Some people also use a Lady Bird deed when planning their estates. A lawyer can help you determine if this tool is right for you.
Learning Estate Planning Basics Is a Great Start for Your Plan
As you learn these estate planning basics, you can begin creating a plan. Having a plan is vital if you have family, assets, and wishes.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about wills and estates, check out the rest of our blog.