If you thought that owning an estate planning is only about having a trust or a will, you’re wrong as there’s more to it. You have to do a lot of other things to ensure all your assets get seamlessly transferred to your heirs soon after your death. There is particular estate planning documents like trust, a will, and healthcare power of attorney.
According to Scott Counsel, a successful estate plan will comprise several provisions that let family members get easy access to your assets, in case you become unable to do so.
Key facts about estate planning
- Estate planning is not something that the wealthy and rich people should do. No matter how few assets you own, it is necessary to make sure your finances and assets are taken proper care of after your demise.
- Estate planning immediately becomes useful when you get incapacitated.
- When you don’t have a proper will, this could lead to an unforeseen division of assets.
- A will is an inseparable part of such a plan.
Estate planning must-haves – A checklist
- Keep a detailed record of your inventory
Take a tour around your home and make a clean list of all the valuable things you own. Some such examples could be the home, pieces of jewelry, television sets, vehicles, collectibles, computers, antique pieces of decorative art, lawn machinery, and several other things. You can add short notes if you want someone to own a specific item after your death.
- Add all non-tangible assets
There must be several non-physical assets that you own only on paper. Some such items could be your bank accounts, IRAs, 401(k) plans, insurance policies for long-term health care, health insurance policies, disability insurance policy, car insurance policy, and homeowners insurance policy. Jot down the account numbers and mention where the physical assets are located.
- Make a list of the debts you owe
What is the total amount of secured and unsecured debt you owe? Make a list of the credit card debts you owe and don’t forget to include the secured loan debts like mortgage debt, car loan payments, HELOCs or home equity lines of credit and any other type you owe. Write down the account details and mention the location of the agreements along with the contact details of the companies that hold the debt.
- Minutely go through your retirement accounts
The policies and accounts which already have their beneficiaries designated will pass on to the respective people after your death. In these cases, you have no power to change how the policies will be disbursed in your will. You may get in touch with the customer service team of your employer to get the latest listing of your beneficiaries. Do a careful and minute review of all such accounts, especially when you’re divorced or married for a second time.
You have to remember that procrastinating your estate planning goals is your biggest enemy. Choose an appropriate time and get started.