A survey recently done by Rocket Lawyer this year revealed that 64% of Americans don’t have a will in place. Having your will along with a comprehensive estate plan is the smartest way to communicate your wishes and desires regarding your property, and the wellbeing of your children, after your passing.
Why is it important to have an estate plan in place?
Having an estate plan helps ensure your loved receive the help they need after you’re gone. Your will plays a big part in the estate planning process, but a complete plan includes other documents, like a power of attorney that lets a family member make financial and medical decisions on your behalf, or a living trust to provide for your children without the hassles of probate court. It will also relieve any confusion or disputes with family and friends.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when starting your estate plan:
Do your research - Each state has different regulations for making your estate plan legal. You and your family should do research to properly understand the specific laws and processes you will need to follow. By not following the processes of your state in which you reside, you run the risk of your documents being invalid.
Open a family discussion - Death can be a complicated subject, especially with family members, but it’s important to let them know of your wishes upon passing (example: being an organ donor or your funeral arrangements). Find a comfortable location will everyone can engage in an open discussion. Make sure your intentions and desires are clear so everyone is on the same page. By taking the time to explain your decisions to family, your loved ones will be more understanding of your choices when the time comes to put your decisions into place.
Pick a guardian for your children - One of the biggest concerns, as a parent, is making sure your kids are taken care of. Picking a guardian may not be an easy task, but it is important. In most situations, your spouse would be the one who would provide for your children. However, in the event something was to happen to both of you, you need to consider who you would want to care for your children in the event something was to happen to both of you.
Choose beneficiaries - You will want to make sure that your beneficiaries are updated specifically when it comes to your bank accounts and life insurance policies. Beneficiaries are the people who will receive your assets and property after you pass. Typically people appoint their spouse, children, relatives, or close friends as beneficiaries. It’s within the rules to have more than one beneficiary. You can also name a secondary or even a tertiary beneficiary in the case that your primary passes before you.
It’s important to revise your estate plan from time to time to reflect any life changes that may come up. Making sure your documents are up to date can help avoid future issues or problems that come with distributing your asses and wishes. By keeping all of these things in mind and starting your estate planning early you’re not only looking out for yourself but also your loved ones.
If you’d like to begin planning your estate today, or would like more information on estate planning, check out the Rocket Lawyer Estate Planning Help Center.
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