STEPS TO CREATING YOUR ESTATE PLAN
We've identified these 6 steps to the creation of your Estate Plan.
- Preserve and Grow Personal Wealth
- Complete Your Advance Health Care Directive
- Assign Beneficiaries to Designated Assets
- Appoint an Agent (aka Power of Attorney), Executor, and/or Trustee
- Create Your Will or Trust
- Centralize and Store Important Information
See our Creating Your Estate and Estate Plan roadmap for further details.
ARE YOUR EMOTIONS GETTING IN THE WAY OF CREATING YOUR ESTATE PLAN?
Many people find it difficult to get started. Their emotions get in the way. Here are some common emotional hurdles and how to overcome them.
- Discussing Death – this is the largest emotional block for people when it comes to estate
planning. You can overcome this hurdle by understanding the reasons for estate planning and
how it is the only way you can really ensure that those you care for are protected and taken care
- Keeping everyone happy – one of the biggest emotional hurdles is keeping things fair and your beneficiaries happy. A good estate planning process helps ensure this happens. Through estate planning you can devise a plan that provides for everyone and is fair, yet still provides for special needs such as college education or a child with health care needs, etc.
- Giving up control – some assume that they give up control with estate planning. But if you don’t have an Estate Plan and something happens to you, the courts will have control over what happens to your estate instead of you. With estate planning you determine your control. There are techniques that can be used to specify the level of control you have under different circumstances, as well as how and when your assets are distributed and used. There are also tax savings you can offer your beneficiaries depending on how you set up your Estate Plan.
- Dealing with professional experts – some feel embarrassed or vulnerable revealing to experts (i.e., a corporate trustee, attorney, accountant, etc.) what they don’t know or what they are having a hard time understanding. Some don’t even know the right questions to ask to get started. But these professionals work with clients from all walks of life. And when you find the right ones, they understand where you are coming from and know how to make the process simpler and easier for you.
- The cost of estate planning – for most people with a simple, straight-forward estate they can complete their estate plan with a basic Will, bank accounts, IRAs/retirement plans, and/or life insurance policies. These are enough to cover their needs and can be done with more of a do-it- yourself approach. Lower cost and convenience are the main advantages and motivations for this. However, this low-cost approach cannot address the complexity of some people’s lives and individual circumstances. Poor planning could end up costing them even more in lost income, increased taxes, or in hiring experts to fix problems they created. There are several reasons you could want professional help as spelled out in Step 4 of this roadmap. If you determine that you will need professional help, look at the cost as an investment versus an expense. It is an investment to ensure you are protecting your loved ones and the assets you have worked hard to generate for them. You run the risk of not fully protecting your assets and interests unless you work with experts.
If you would like to begin estate planning or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact
This content is intended to be used as a source for general information and is not provided as legal advice.