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Steps to take during estate planning

Estate planning is a very important step to take to make sure your wishes are known and followed through after you have passed away. Creating an estate plan has many benefits, but many people fail to create an estate plan before it's too late. 

Having an estate plan can make it easier for your family to know how you want your assets divided as well as other decisions regarding your health and finances if you ever become incapacitated. Creating an estate plan doesn't have to be complicated but it is important to know what steps to take to ensure your documents are accurate and helpful for your family.

What steps should you take when thinking about creating an estate plan? One of the most important documents to have is a will. A will documents how you want your assets distributed to your loved ones. It is important to include information on who would take care any your minor children in the event you pass away.

It is also important to have a master document that contains information on all of your accounts, including financial accounts and their balances. This will help your family or whoever is responsible for managing your estate after you pass away. This document should include the following information:

  • List of open accounts
  • Debts and assets
  • Benefits your family members are entitled to receive
  • Copy of will
  • Living trust or any other estate planning documents 

An estate plan can make a huge difference for your family by easing the stress and tension because your wishes are spelled out. It can be difficult to think about what will happen after you pass away, but can make life for your family so much easier by taking steps now to create your estate plan instead of waiting until it's too late. 

Source: US News, "4 Steps for Simple Estate Planning," Trent Hamm, Dec. 17, 2013

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