The primary steps of estate planning are identifying and valuing your assets, deciding how you want your assets to be distributed after your death, and selecting the people who will manage your estate. You may also want to consider gifting some of your assets during your lifetime. This can be a good way to reduce the overall value of your estate and minimize taxes.
Once you have decided how you want your assets to be distributed, you will need to create legal documents to ensure that your wishes are carried out. These documents can include a will, trusts, Powers of Attorney, and advance directives. It is important to review your estate plan periodically and update it as needed. Life changes such as marriage, divorce, birth, and death can all impact your estate plan.
If you have any questions about the main steps in estate planning, or if you would like help creating a plan, please contact us. We are here to help you through every step of the process.
Identify Your Needs and Goals
The first step in estate planning is to identify your needs and goals. What do you want to accomplish with your estate plan? Do you want to protect your assets from creditors or lawsuits? Do you want to minimize taxes? Do you want to ensure that your loved ones are provided for after your death?
Value Your Assets
The next step is to determine the value of your assets. This includes both your tangible assets, such as your home, cars, and furniture, and your intangible assets, such as investments, life insurance policies, and retirement accounts.
You will also need to decide how you want your assets to be distributed. You can leave everything to a spouse or partner, children, other relatives, or friends. You can also choose to donate some or all of your assets to charity.
Select Your Executor
An executor is a person who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes after you die. This person will need to be organized and detail-oriented, as they will be responsible for managing your estate and ensuring that your loved ones receive what you have left them.
You should select someone you trust and who is up to the task of managing your estate. You may also want to consider naming a backup executor in case your first choice is unable or unwilling to serve.
Create Your Documents
Finally, you need to create your legal documents. This is generally done with the help of an attorney. You will want to create a last will and testament, as well as advance directives, which detail your wishes for medical care if you are unable to communicate them yourself. You may also want to consider setting up a trust, which can help to manage your assets after your death and avoid probate court. If you need help with family law, contact us today at (470) 291-5342 to schedule a consultation with our law firm.