Estate Planning: What it is and when should you get started
Estate Planning: What it is and when should you get started

Estate Planning: What it is and when should you get started

As you get older, you begin to think about the future, and about what you can do to maximize the value of your estate. You want to have enough money to age comfortably while still leaving something behind for your family. It can be an overwhelming task when you’re just getting started because the process and laws associated with estate planning are complicated.

Many people hire an estate planning attorney as their first step because they have the ability to ensure that all of those small details (that can make a big difference later on) are properly attended to. Let’s take a deeper look into who benefits from estate planning, what it is, and how to get started.

What is estate planning?

Just like when making a plan for any project, you’re anticipating for the future. In this case, you’re planning on how you want your estate cared for as you age, and what your wishes are for it after you have passed. By making a plan for your estate, you proactively eliminate any complications in the future that could cost your family money because of the legal fees to correct mistakes. You also help prevent confusion and your family losing valuable assets that you intended for them to have.

Estate planning will vary depending on the state you live in, so you want to be sure to have someone with experience guiding you. There is a lot of paperwork involved in estate planning such as wills and trusts, and you’ll have to choose people to be beneficiaries. You’ll also to give attention to a power of appointment. And those aren’t the only tasks on the list that will need to address and correctly deal with.

How do you get started?

When you decide to start with your estate planning, you’ll want to take inventory of all of your assets including things like insurance policies, business investments, property, and much more. Then you should look at valuable items such as antiques, rare paintings, jewelry, etc. You’ll then want to sit down and decide where you want these items to go after you’ve passed on.

Do you want to leave your grandmother’s pearls to your daughter? While you might think that you don’t need legal documentation since you’ve already told her they were hers, you would be surprised how many people have spent countless dollars in the court arguing over possessions such as that.

You’ll also want to make the decision of who you trust to take care of you and handle your affairs if a medical situation should arise, or you become dependent on others assisting you in daily activities. You’ll want to be very clear in all of your verbiages to those you choose to care for your estate and yourself as you age. The more you inform them about your wishes regarding this time in your life, the happier you’ll be.

When should you start estate planning?

Because the decisions that you must make during estate planning are very important, you truly don’t want to rush them. The earlier you start, the better off you’ll be. It takes time to get your estate and those you want to be involved in the process together and in working order. After all, this is your legacy, and you need to be in the hands of people you trust as you age.

As you can see, it’s no wonder that most people are interested in involving an estate planning attorney. They not only help make the process smoother, but they make it more efficient. After all, most of us will only plan our own, and possibly help with one or two other loved one’s estates. For us, it’s a learning process, but for an experienced attorney, it’s their skillset they are applying to help families. They understand the entire process before you even get started.

The most important part of estate planning is just getting started. So many people put it off because they don’t want to face that time in their lives, but to make aging a better experience, take the time to plan your estate now. You and your family will have peace of mind knowing that you’re cared for down the road, and your estate is protected and going exactly where you wish.