Estate Planning: Where Do I Start?
Create a will if you do not yet have one. A valid will may save your heirs from some expensive headaches linked to probate and ambiguity. A solid will drafted with the guidance of an estate planning attorney will likely cost you a bit more than a “will-in-a-box,” but may prove to be worth the expense.
Complement your will with related documents. Depending on your estate planning needs, this could include some kind of trust (or multiple trusts), durable financial and medical powers of attorney, a living will and other items.
Review your beneficiary designations. Who are the beneficiaries of your retirement plans and/or insurance policies? If you aren’t sure, it is probably a good idea to go back and check the documentation to verify (or change) who you have designated as a beneficiary.
Create asset and debt lists. You should provide your heirs with an asset and debt “map” they can follow should you pass away, so that they will be aware of the little details of your wealth.
Think about consolidating your “stray” retirement and/or bank accounts. This could make one of your lists a little shorter. Consolidation means fewer account statements, less paperwork for your heirs and fewer administrative fees to bear.
Let your heirs know the causes and charities that mean the most to you. Write down the associations you belong to and the organizations you support.
Select a reliable Personal Representative. That person should have copies of your will, forms of power of attorney, any kind of healthcare proxy or living will, and any trusts you create. In fact, any of your loved ones referenced in these documents should also receive copies of them.
If you or someone you know is in need of an estate planning attorney, call the Kendrick Law Group at 407-641-5847 to schedule your complimentary consultation.