The Do’s and Don’ts of Estate Planning
The subject of estate planning can be uncomfortable to confront– after all, it’s unpleasant to think about what’ll happen when we or our loved ones pass away.
However, taking the time to properly plan for your estate will make things much easier for your surviving spouse, children, or other beneficiaries. Clear communication of your wishes will make it easier for things to get settled without interpersonal or even legal complications.
DO make a list of all of your assets
It’s helpful to have a good understanding of everything in your possession that could be considered an asset.
When considering assets, you probably think of bank accounts and real estate– but there are actually many more things that could be considered personal assets.
For example, assets might include vehicles (cars, motorcycles, boats, etc.), furniture, jewelry, electronics, artwork, collectible items, and more.
The end goal of estate planning is determining your ideal asset distribution. Having all of your assets accounted for will help this process go much more smoothly.
Although it’s uncomfortable or upsetting to think about, we really never know what tomorrow will bring. Procrastinating when it comes to estate planning might mean that– if you were to unexpectedly pass away– your family would not be aware of your wishes for your assets.
More than just an inconvenience, this issue could be a major roadblock for your family– and you may not have the opportunity to ensure that your wishes will be carried out.
DO choose the right beneficiaries
Choosing beneficiaries is a very important part of estate planning. Make sure you put some thought into who you’d like to receive your assets.
DON’T forget about end-of-life care
Estate planning is about more than just what happens when you pass away. It also comes into play when it’s time to deal with your end-of-life care.
If you are not sound of mind enough to make your own medical decisions, it’s a good idea to determine who you’d like to function as your power of attorney– in other words, the person designated to make decisions on your behalf.
DO review and update your estate plan regularly
Estate planning is not a one-and-done event. Your estate plan is a living document that should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that it reflects your current wishes and is in line with any changes in your life circumstances.
Changes in life circumstances might include marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child, among many other things!
DON’T forget about taxes
Estate taxes can be a significant expense, and can affect the amount of assets that your beneficiaries will receive.
Be sure to understand tax implications when creating your estate plan to ensure that your beneficiaries can receive as much as possible.
DO hire an experienced estate planning attorney
Hiring an experienced estate attorney is an essential part of the estate planning process. An attorney can help you navigate the legal complexities of estate planning, create a comprehensive estate plan, and ensure that your wishes are carried out when the time comes.
At Davidson Law Firm, we’ve got four decades of experience with estate planning. We’ll help you make the best estate plan possible, and we’ll ensure that it’s carried out as you wished, too. Give us a call today to get started.