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How to Start Your Estate Planning

Oct. 26, 2021

How can you provide for your children in the event of a tragedy? The best way is to have an estate plan and to include all of their caretakers in it.

In this newsletter article, we'll teach you how to start estate planning so that you can feel confident knowing that your children are well taken care of if something happens to you.

Take Stock of Your Assets

The first step in estate planning is to take stock of all your assets. This includes checking bank accounts, savings accounts, IRA's, 401k plans, and insurance policies (life/medical). It also entails figuring out how much money you owe through personal loans or credit cards.

Many people are unaware of the value of all their assets combined (the value of real estate, vehicles, and other personal property quickly add up, even if you think you do not have enough liquid assets to justify an estate plan). Regardless, the anticipated value of your estate will directly impact which type of plan is right for you.

Consider Your Family’s Needs

Perhaps the most important component of estate planning is considering the needs specific to your family. Do you have minor children in the home? You will likely want to name guardians as well as backup guardians to ensure they’re cared for if the worst occurs. Do you have family members with special needs, money troubles, or addiction issues? Your estate plan can account for these concerns (while protecting your assets and your loved ones). How much life insurance will be adequate for your family? All of these considerations will determine the estate planning vehicles that will work best for you and your family.

Learn About Your State’s Laws

Local, state, and federal laws can impact one’s estate plan. For instance, the rules governing estate administration are largely dictated by your county and state - but estate taxes and probate fees are governed by all three jurisdictions. Being appointed executor, guardian, or power of attorney necessitates knowledge of various rules and regulations which can be hard to understand.

By having a seasoned estate planning attorney in your corner, you can rest assured that your estate plan will offer the greatest level of legal protection, maximize tax savings, and reduce administrative costs.

Our Office Can Help With Your Estate Plan

Taking these initial steps now can provide security and comfort knowing that your estate plan is complete (and your family will be cared for). If you would like to start the process of planning for your future, contact my office for a free strategy session.

Parenting Tip:

As we approach Thanksgiving, it serves as an important reminder that we can show gratitude year-round. Showing gratitude to your children is a great way of modeling the behavior you’d like to see in them - plus there are some great benefits of instilling gratitude in children. Grateful children tend to show higher levels of happiness, optimism, and a better ability to cope with stress.