Estate Planning and the 6 Steps to a Smarter Plan
Estate planning can be regarded as a difficult task. It can also be regarded as unpleasant; pondering on our own eventual demise is usually not a topic that most of us want to think about. However, it is an important responsibility that we owe to our families and the people and causes that we care about.
If broken down to the following six steps, you can turn a difficult task into a manageable one:
Step 1: Define your Estate Planning Goals:
- What do you want to happen?
- How do your assets get distributed? Family, friends, charity, etc.?
- Who will handle your estate?
- What are your concerns about privacy and family harmony as it relates to your estate?
- Do you know if you are affected by estate taxes?
Step 2: Gather and Organize your Financial Data:
- Gather your documents.
- Determine your net worth.
- Review your beneficiary selections.
- Determine how you hold title to property.
Step 3: Analyze & Discuss:
- Engage with a professional advisor or estate planner.
- Flowchart what your existing estate plan looks like.
Step 4: Develop your Estate Strategies:
- What strategies are best for your circumstances?
- Build your estate plan.
Step 5: Implement your Estate Plan:
- Draft, review, edit, and then sign estate planning documents.
- Coordinate title to your properties and beneficiary selections with your plan.
- Where will your documents be located? Does the person who will handle your estate know where your documents are located?
Step 6: Track & Monitor your Progress:
- Check your estate plan annually or any time your family situation changes.
By working through these six basic steps, you will be able organize a difficult task into a manageable one.
(This information is excerpted from “Your Estate Planning Organizer,” a publication of The Financial Awareness Foundation.)
Want to learn more about better estate planning? Download a copy of " Your Estate Planning Organizer." This comprehensive guide offers:
- Learning the estate planning basics, including common terms and mistakes to avoid
- Understanding the six steps involved in successful estate planning with greater depth
- Building the system of analysis needed to create an optimal estate plan
- Working with an attorney and other relevant advisors
- Finalizing your estate planning checklist
- Implementing estate planning as a lifelong process, not a one-time event