Estate planning is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your loved ones. Unfortunately, it can be a complex and confusing process. This checklist will help you get started on estate planning and make sure you have all your bases covered.
Take inventory of your assets
This includes everything from your savings and investment accounts to your real estate and personal property. Make a list of all your assets and their estimated value. If you have a lot of assets, it may be helpful to hire an appraiser to help you determine the value of your belongings.
Don’t forget your debts
Make sure to include your debts in your inventory of assets. Your estate will be responsible for paying off any outstanding debts, so it’s important to factor this into your planning.
If you have a lot of debt, you may want to consider ways to pay it off before you die. This can help reduce the burden on your loved ones and make sure your assets are used the way you want them to be.
Make a will
A will is an estate planning document that specifies how you would like your assets to be distributed after your death. Without a will, the state will determine how your assets will be divided, which may not be in accordance with your wishes. In addition, a will can help avoid disagreements among family members about who should inherit what.
Review your retirement accounts
Make sure your retirement accounts, such as your 401(k) or IRA, are up to date. You should name a beneficiary for these accounts so that the money goes to the person you want it to. You can also designate how you would like the money to be used, such as for medical expenses or education costs.
Estate planning is a complex process, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By taking inventory of your assets and debts, making a will, reviewing your retirement accounts, and considering your options for paying off debt, you can make sure your wishes are carried out after your death.