Did you know that about 60% of Americans don’t have an estate plan? Estate planning isn’t for the rich and famous, but it’s something that everyone needs to do.
Estate planning is important because you don’t want to leave a financial burden on your family, nor do you want your legacy to get distributed by the government.
Isn’t a Will Enough?
You might start your estate planning checklist by thinking that you have a will and that’s all you need. A will is much different from an estate plan.
A will is a document that instructs how your assets should be divided or who would get custody of minor children. Estate planning makes sure that most of your assets get distributed to the people in your will.
You manage your tax liabilities while you’re still alive, so you don’t have to leave that to the executor of your estate. That gives your family peace of mind.
1. Take Stock of What You Have
Your first step in estate planning is to take stock of your assets. You may look at your bank account and think that you don’t have much going on, so you shouldn’t bother.
You have other assets, such as a home, retirement savings, life insurance plans that should be included. Look at everything you own, including your personal property, cars, and collectibles.
2. Think of Your Family
Will your family be able to survive without your income? That is the basic question that estate planning can solve.
You want to make sure that you review your life insurance policy to make sure there is enough coverage for your entire family’s needs.
This is a great time to review the beneficiaries listed on all of your plans, from your life insurance policy to retirement plan.
3. Legal Directives
You have to establish legal directives to ensure your estate is being taken care of if you can’t do so while you’re alive.
Items such as a living will, trusts, and power of attorney should all be considered.
4. Find an Estate Planner
You could create your own estate plan on your own. As you can see, there are many legal and tax implications that could occur if you don’t know what they are.
An estate planner such as Bogartwealth.com can help you come up with strategies to reach your financial goals, while minimizing your tax liabilities.
5. Understanding State Laws
The laws regarding estate taxes and transfer of wealth procedures will differ from state to state. You want to take responsibility for your estate plan. Understanding your state laws is a good first step, and it will help you understand why your estate planner is recommending a certain strategy.
Transfer Your Estate with This Estate Planning Checklist
Even if you don’t have a huge amount of assets or family to transfer wealth to, you still need to plan your estate. This estate planning checklist gives you the best chance to donate to a nonprofit organization and give your family peace of mind.
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