Estate planning is an important aspect of planning for the future, protecting your loved ones, and ensuring your legacy. As you get ready to develop your estate plan, here are some of the basic steps you will need to take to solidify and implement this essential plan with my guidance and help at James M. Snow Law.
1. Define your goals—Do you want to take control of your legacy, protect your assets, provide for your family, or all of the above? Determine what your main priorities are at the start of creating your estate plan.
2. Make a list of your assets—Think about all of the property and money you own independently as well as jointly with a spouse or another person.
3. Think about your loved ones—There may be people in your life you want to consider as you develop your estate plan, such as your spouse, children, grandchildren, friends, and others.
4. Decide if you want to make charitable contributions—You may want to make provisions in your will to leave funding or assets to a charitable organization you support.
5. Determine if any of your heirs have special needs—If a loved one has special needs, you will need to take certain steps to make sure you transfer their inheritance appropriately and that it is used properly.
6. Figure out if you will owe estate tax—If you have a larger estate, the federal government may charge taxes on your estate after your death.
7. Decide if you want to avoid probate—Most assets transfer through the probate process, which is typically expensive and complicated. You can use different estate planning techniques if you want to avoid this.
8. Think about what should happen if you became incapacitated—If you become mentally or physically incapacitated, think about who should make decisions on your behalf and what kind of care you would choose to reject or receive.
9. Solidify your insurance policies—If you will not have enough funding to care for your loved ones, consider obtaining additional coverage, like a life insurance policy.
10. Choose which legal tools to use—To provide for your loved ones, prepare for the potential of incapacity, and accomplish your goals, you may need to develop advance directives, a power of attorney, trusts, a last will and testament, and more.