estate planning

How Do I Plan My Estate?

Estate planning is what determines who receives your assets when you pass away. This is typically done with the help of an estate planning lawyer to ensure all aspects of your estate are covered in the plan. To ensure your estate is planned thoroughly, there are seven key steps.

Create an Inventory

You will need an entire inventory of everything you own to ensure a complete estate plan. This inventory should include both tangible and intangible assets.

Tangible assets include:

  • Real estate
  • Vehicles
  • Collectibles
  • Personal possessions

Intangible assets include:

  • Bank accounts
  • Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
  • Life insurance policies
  • Retirement plans
  • Health savings accounts
  • Business ownership

Your inventory should also include current liabilities, such as mortgages, lines of credit, or unpaid debts.

Account for Family Needs

Your estate should clarify how you want your family’s needs met if you pass away. Doing this includes the following elements:

  • Writing a Will
  • Ensuring your life insurance policy will provide enough financial assistance.
  • Name a guardian for any minor-age children.

Establish Your Directives

Important legal directives should be included in your estate. These can help determine what to do if you become incapacitated but haven’t passed away. Important directives include:

  • A revocable living trust.
  • A medical care directive (or a living will).
  • A durable financial power of attorney.
  • A limited power of attorney.

Review Your Beneficiaries

While your Will lays out many of your final wishes, it may include only some information. Your beneficiaries should be reviewed to ensure the right people get your assets. When reviewing beneficiaries, follow these guidelines:

  • Check the beneficiaries on your retirement and insurance accounts.
  • Update beneficiaries as needed.
  • Never leave a beneficiary section blank.
  • Name contingent beneficiaries.

Know Your State’s Estate Tax Laws

Estate planning can minimize the taxes taken from your remaining funds, but many people won’t pay those taxes. Federal taxes are only taken out of estates valued at $12.92 million or more in 2023. However, some states have estate or inheritance taxes that may be taken from your estate.

Plan to Reassess

Life changes, which means your estate plans can change too. Revisit your estate plan when significant life changes occur, including marriage, divorce, the birth of a child or grandchild, job changes, or losing a loved one.

Get Professional Help

The best way to ensure your estate plan is thoroughly done is to work with an estate planning lawyer. The attorneys at Gandhi Selim Law are ready to walk you through your estate plan and ensure that your assets will go to exactly who you want when you pass away.

Published by
Gandhi Selim Law

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