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Estate Planning: What You Need to Do Now

July 15, 2021

It is hard to start thinking about what you need to prepare for when you die. While it is difficult, you need to put your affairs in order before you are no longer able to do so. Preparing your estate will make the process easier on your loved ones after you are gone. You can go ahead and take a few steps to start estate planning. Continue reading to learn what you need to do now. 

Take an Inventory of your Assets

Before developing a will, you need to be aware of all the tangible and intangible assets you own. Your tangible assets include your home, vehicles, collectibles, antiques, and any other valuable personal possessions. Your intangible assets include your checking and savings accounts, stocks, mutual funds, life insurance, and retirement savings. Use an appraiser to estimate the value of your home and other assets. 

Decide and Document Your Wishes for Health Care 

Your loved ones need to be aware of what type of medical treatment and intervention that you are okay with in the event of a crisis where you are unable to make your own decisions. You will want to have a healthcare proxy. A healthcare proxy is a document that gives one or more people the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are physically or mentally unable to. You will also want to establish a living will. A living will give you the opportunity to specify what type of medical treatments and long term care options you want. 

Pick an Executor 

An executor is responsible for managing the distribution of assets in your estate, including your home, vehicles, and other valuables. You can choose anyone to be your executor as long as an estate attorney does most of the work. Be sure that your executor understands the responsibilities of executing your will. Settling an estate can be an extremely long process involved with attorneys and bankers. Make sure your heirs and beneficiaries are aware of who your executor is. 

Create a File of Important Documents 

It is much easier for your loved ones to carry out your wishes and plans if they have access to all the information they need. Some call this a “end of life” file. You should include copies of your health care proxy forms, financial proxy forms, life insurance information, bank account information, credit card information, all usernames and passwords to important accounts, any funeral arrangements you have made, when any deeds or titles are to your assets, and contact information for any doctors, attorneys, or other professionals you use. 

Gathering information to prepare for when you are gone is difficult. However, going through this process now will make it easier for your loved ones to meet your wishes when you have passed.