You have pondered this topic for a few months. Now, you decided that it is time to get moving on creating an estate plan. After reading a few books and researching online, you have a general idea on what to do.
Now that you have the right frame of mind and followed through with initial preparation, it is time to get the ball rolling. Some crucial preliminary steps must be taken in your effort to forge a plan to distribute your assets and provide peace of mind to your loved ones and beneficiaries.
Create an inventory of assets
The road to creating a solid estate plan includes these initial steps:
- Assemble a detailed inventory of your assets: The list may include your home, cabin, real estate, vehicle, boat, personal property such as furniture and clothing along with money invested in retirement plans, bank accounts and mutual funds as well as a life insurance policy. Try not to overlook anything.
- Decide upon your beneficiaries: Carefully review your beneficiaries list and compare it with your assets list. In doing so, you may line up their needs with your assets. For example, if one beneficiary is a fisherman, consider leaving them your boat. If another has young children, consider leaving money to them for college expenses.
- Write an accompanying letter: This missive should include additional instructions that did not belong in your will. Leave the letter with a trustworthy person or place in a safe deposit box. The letter may include details about your funeral and specific instructions related to items you want to leave to others.
- Compile a list of estate planning attorneys: Contact these professionals for initial discussions in order to gain a comfort level and determine which one is the best fit for you. An experienced attorney understands that you seek guidance and will provide simple explanations.
These initial steps will help you lay the groundwork for creating an estate plan.
You are on your way
Some people hesitate and procrastinate when it comes to estate planning. That is not unusual. At least now, you are thinking about creating a will and have taken initiative. Work at a comfortable pace, and, in time, you will gain significant peace of mind.