Did you know that more than 60% of the people in the United States die without a will or any kind of direction for their grieving families? Not only can this cause division and disagreements within the family, but not having an estate plan also has legal ramifications.
Therefore, as soon as you start purchasing assets and acquiring debt, you should have a will. However, there are other things you should include to create a thorough estate plan.
Financial account beneficiaries
For every financial account you have, from your checking and savings accounts to your life insurance and retirement accounts, you can designate a beneficiary. Therefore, you should contact each company where you have these accounts and ask who the beneficiary is currently. If you have no designation or you want to change this designation, address this oversight right away.
Every estate needs a will, where you list your assets and state who gets what. You should also designate guardians for your pets and minor children. Finally, you need an executor who takes on the responsibility of addressing your debts and distributing your assets based on your will.
A trust passes your assets to the trust, but you can still use them while you live. Transfer all your assets and who or what organizations should receive them upon your death. Then, designate a trustee, somewhat like an executor to a will, to manage the trust after you die.
Powers of attorney
You will need several powers of attorney: financial, legal and health care. These individuals follow your desires in these areas if you ever experience incapacitation.
Everyone should have an estate plan to protect their assets and wishes after they die. Do not forget to update your plan when you experience major life changes.