There are various things that you’ll likely want to consider when entering the estate planning process. It’s important to make sure that you have proper plan in place so that all of your needs, as well as those of your family, are met. If you are new to estate planning, look at the following list of do’s and don’ts. If you have questions about your individual needs, meet with a qualified estate planning attorney to discuss your options.
Do create a plan early in life. Many people put off their planning and then never get the chance to do so. If you’re age 18 or older, you need your own estate plan.
Do include medical planning in your estate plan. This will protect you during illness and disability.
Do create a will. This will allow your assets to be distributed as you wish and will allow you to appoint a guardian to care for your minor children.
Don’t attempt to do your own estate planning. You can make serious errors that will have negative effects on your estate and your life.
Don’t forget to review and update your plan. Your plan should be reviewed every 3 to 5 years, or sooner if life changes occur. This also includes updating beneficiary designations for assets such as your retirement account and life insurance policy.
Do choose responsible and trustworthy trusted helpers. This includes possible guardians, executors, trustees, and power of attorney agents. You want to make sure that your affairs are handled appropriately and with care.
Don’t forget to tell your loved ones that you’ve taken the time to plan. An estate plan is only effective if your loved ones know that it exists.
Do include funeral planning in your estate planning. This can ensure that your funeral wishes are followed as well as help to minimize family disagreements.
Do ask your attorney questions about your plan. It’s important to make sure that you understand all aspects of your estate planning!
Don’t attempt to change your estate plan before seeking professional advice. This will help to minimize mistakes. Don’t ever write on your original documents.
If you are ready to make your estate planning goals happen, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.