How to get started with your estate planning

Many people believe that planning for their end of life only requires a will. However, a will is only part of what goes into an estate plan.

Here is an overview of all the components your plan will need to address. 

Get your financial information organized 

Write down all your assets and debts. Gather every document that makes up your financial worth. This will include real estate, vehicles, boats, bank accounts, investments, pensions, life insurance policies, credit card statements and even items such as artwork and jewelry. Do not leave anything out, the work you do with an estate planning attorney will depend on having your full financial background accounted for.

Make a list of beneficiaries

This will include all members of your family and close friends, such as your spouse, children, siblings, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and close friends. In your list, include as much information you can about them, including full name, addresses and how they relate to you. You can also include any entities you may also want to give to, such as charitable organizations or non-profits.

Who will be your executor?

This will be the person who will have legal responsibility of your financial obligations after you pass. Many times, people will name a spouse or an oldest child, but the most important thing is to name someone you trust.

Health care decisions

If you happen to become incapacitated for any reason and are unable to make health care decisions, you will need explicit instructions on how you want your health care handled. This can include your wishes for nursing homes, home care, assisted living facilities and even medications.

These items are just the beginning, but it will start your estate plan rolling. An estate plan expert will be able to guide you through all the details to make sure you don't miss a thing. Completing your estate plan can be daunting, but there is good reason for it, you are looking after your family. One other benefit of working on your estate plan, it will give you peace of mind.

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