Estate planning can be done either in consultation with an expert or you can do on your own. Take a couple of days to sort out your finances and then proceed with estate planning. The things you need to do for estate planning are:
Make a list of all the physical items that you possess: All of the electronic gadgets, precious gems and jewelry, collectibles, antique items and vehicles are some of the expensive items. As a rule of the thumb any item whose cost is above $100 must be included in this list.
The non physical items have to be inventoried as well: Among these items are bank accounts, bonds, all types of insurance policies which you have purchased, IRA assets and others. All of these assets have to be itemized as well.
The list of all loans takes: make a list of all the loans which you have secured. This list would typically contain details like house mortgages taken, refinancing, auto loans, credit card debts and details of personal loans. A credit report would reflect the status of all loans and is a good reminder to shut the use of credit cards which you do not use any more.
Prepare a detailed list of all charitable organizations you have been attached to: All the charitable organizations you have been affiliated with must be listed and the details of donations made must be recorded. A good majority of such organizations across the country offer accidental life insurance benefits to life members. Always disclose to the beneficiaries regarding your memberships with these organizations.
The estate administrator has to be given a copy of the above lists: The estate administrator must be qualified and experienced person. A minimum of three copies of the estate lists must be made and duly witnessed and signed. A copy must be sent to the estate administrator while you can keep the rest two copies in the bank vault or the safe deposit box.
Along with preparation of the asset lists and naming the beneficiaries you have to update the life insurance policies and other annuities. Check on the premiums paid, their receipts and pending dues as well. To avoid court probates on your bank accounts you can opt for Transfer-on-death nomination to the beneficiaries. Creation of a will also helps avoiding a lot of unpleasantness, misunderstandings and confusion later when you have passed away. It presents a crystal clear picture of your wishes and how you want your funds dispensed and distributed. You can speak with either an attorney who can assist you with will making process or you can download a will making software from the internet. Make sure that the will is duly dated, signed and has the names of two witnesses and their signatures as well.
The will has to be reviewed and updated every couple of years to include any fresh assets or to alter any of the clauses made. The list of physical as well as well non physical assets keeps changing and all of these changes have to be included in the will.
Consulting an estate attorney makes sense because they are able to advise you and guide you regarding the finer points of estate planning. They also the best people to guide you though taxes and IRA rules and regulations. You may opt for longer term care insurance and wanting to protect your estate from huge taxes. All of these can be explained in detail by an industry expert and you can place your trust in them and make use of professional guidance.
A will made at leisure and in an alert and clear state of mind is very conducive to peaceful settlement of your estate. It is important to avoid court notices, litigations, long drawn battles, family disputes and accompanying unpleasantness. You need to start getting the papers and documents in order to start with the estate planning process. The will, power of attorney, trusts and guardianships must be assigned duly. You must start with the process of planning your estate today if you are still postponing it. It is very important that you initiate the process by getting the documents together. To avoid any mess later it is important that you take action today.
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