Have you recently decided that you want to put your affairs in order for when you pass away? This is a huge step that many people neglect to take during their lifetime. Estate planning isn't necessarily easy, but if you want to ensure that your final wishes are carried out it will be a necessity. However, many people do not know what they will need to start putting their affairs in order, and there is always a risk that something important may be left out. However, there are some general things that you can keep in mind for beginning the estate planning process.
Inventory of Assets
One of the first things you want to do when you begin estate planning is to make an inventory of all your assets. This includes both physical assets and non-physical assets. Examples of things that need to be included on your estate planning inventory include:
- Personal items worth over $100
- Jewelry, collectibles or antiques
- Any real estate owned
- Any vehicles or recreational vehicles owned
- Retirement plans such as a 401k or an IRA
- Brokerage accounts, checking accounts and savings accounts
- Any investment accounts such as stock purchases
- Life insurance policies
Make a List of Your Financial Obligations
Another thing that you want to include when estate planning is what financial obligations you may have. You will want to include information regarding who the debt is owed to and how much is owed. This can include any credit card accounts and lines of credit that you have open.
You will also want to include any mortgages, vehicle loans, student loans and loans on any investment properties you may have such as rental properties. One tip you may want to consider is checking your credit report on an annual basis to make sure all of your financial obligations are included.
Create Your Wills, Asset Distributions and End of Life Care Wishes
One of the most difficult tasks in estate planning is the creation of wills and asset distributions. If you have certain items that you want to go to a specific person, this is where you should lay out those details. Also include any charitable donations you want made in your name after your death and how you want the remainder of your estate distributed between loved ones. This is also the point where you should create a living will and durable power of attorney in order to have your end of life care wishes carried out should you become incapacitated.
If you are ready to begin the estate planning process, consider contacting a local attorney, like those at Mackevich, Burke & Stanicki. They can help guide you through the entire process and ensure that your final wishes are legally binding, giving you a peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out.