Nobody wants to think about becoming sick or passing away at a young age. However, accidents can happen to anyone at any time. Life can be unexpected.
Unfortunately, many people have denied estate planning over the years. Some believe it’s not necessary while others don’t feel comfortable discussing the idea of death.
However, a comprehensive estate plan should consider what happens in the event you become disabled or pass away. It is about making sure that your loved ones are taken care of after you die and that your assets are distributed how you wish. By planning ahead, you can minimize future stress for your family and friends.
If you’re starting to draft your estate plan, consider this estate planning checklist. Here are five efficient ways to prepare.
#1: Establish Guardianship
If you have minor children, it’s important to provide information regarding ongoing care if you become incapacitated or die. Although this can be one of the most difficult things to think about, it’s imperative to make these decisions as soon as possible to avoid custody disputes.
Some parents will name their own parents as guardians in case of death. This may work fine if you are 20 years old and your parents are 50 but may not be practical 15 years down the road. While it may be tough to address, establishing guardianship may be the most compelling reason to prepare an estate plan.
#2: Assign Beneficiaries
Deciding who will be your beneficiaries is one of the biggest considerations when it comes to creating an estate plan.
A beneficiary is a person you want to give your assets to such as a life insurance policy or the proceeds from your bank account. If your bank account does not have an assigned beneficiary, your remaining financial holdings will most likely undergo probate court proceedings, which can be a lengthy process.
#3: Write an Advance Health Care Directive
An advance healthcare directive, is a legal document that allows people to state their wishes for end-of-life medical care. This document is important because it details the level of medical care an individual wants to receive if they are unable to make decisions or communicate when care is needed.
An advance heathcare directive addresses many medical procedures common in life-threatening situations such as resuscitation via ventilation or electric shock. In other words, it serves as your voice when you may not have one.
An advance healthcare directive can also:
- Give guidance to your doctors
- Provide clarity and closure to your family and friends
- Prevent conflict or discord among family members
- Reduce the burden of decision-making for caretakers
#4: Update Your Documents Periodically
An estate plan lives and breathes just as long as you do. This means it’s important to revisit your estate plan documents periodically and revise them. Life events such as a marriage, the birth of a child, or the death of a family member can alter an estate plan unexpectedly.
Other circumstances that can arise and provoke a change in your estate plan, include:
- Acquiring a new significant debt
- Purchase of property, vehicle, or new real estate
- Income fluctuations
- A wish you to add or replace beneficiaries on your existing estate plan
- New employment or professional position
Even if your situation remains the same, laws can change at any time. It will take some effort to revise your plan but be proactive. The need to revise means you’ve already avoided the biggest estate planning mistake: never drafting a one at all.
#5: Consult an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
Estate planning is more complicated than just filling out a form and storing it in the attic. It is a process that requires attention to detail. If you’re looking to create an estate plan, then you should contact a practiced estate planning attorney. They can ensure you complete all the necessary paperwork and guide you through every step of the process.
Aside from knowledge of the relevant tools, estate planning attorneys also are required to stay up to date on changes in estate planning laws. What worked 10 years ago may not work today.
Having over 60 combined years of experience in estate planning, Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd. has completed thousands of tailored estate plans in Ventura, Westlake Village, Santa Barbara, Valencia, Bakersfield, and San Luis Obispo, California. Founder attorney, Christopher E. Botti, is also a Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law.
Nobody has the same estate plan, and these documents vary depending on your estate planning goals. One mistake could cost your family a fortune and become a burden later on. Allow Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd. to inform you of all of your legal options. We can ensure your loved ones and property are protected.
Call today at (877) 585-1885 to set up your first consultation free of charge.