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Estate Planning

Simple Steps to Creating a Thorough Estate Plan

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Are you getting ready to commit to estate planning for the first time?

Below is a simple checklist with steps that will help you draft an estate plan that is as comprehensive as possible:

  • Write your will: Your will allows you to state who you want to inherit your property and name a guardian for your minor children in the event of the untimely death of you and the other parent. It is the simplest estate planning tool to give you control over what happens to your assets and children.
  • Consider a trust: Property held in a living trust will bypass the probate court, saving your loved ones time and money and helping them avoid some extra stress after your death. Trusts are relatively easy and inexpensive to establish, and there are many different types of trusts that can help you accomplish different things with your assets.
  • Create advance directives: Write out all the wishes you have for your healthcare, specifically regarding your end-of-life care. Examples of advance directives include a living will and healthcare power of attorney, the latter of which allows another person to make certain healthcare decisions on your behalf.
  • Establish financial power of attorney: A power of attorney for finances gives another person authority to manage your assets and money if you are unable to do so yourself. You can place any limits you want on these powers and provide other guidelines for how to manage your finances and property in certain situations.
  • Name beneficiaries: There are many types of bank accounts, retirement plans and other accounts that allow you to name beneficiaries. Your chosen beneficiary will receive funds after your death that you would have received in life. You may select your beneficiary at any time.
  • Take out life insurance: If you own a house or have young children, you are likely to have significant debts. You want your spouse and/or children to be able to pay off those debts easily if something were to happen to you, so taking out a life insurance policy is a good way to protect them.
  • Make funeral arrangements: Make sure you clearly identify your wishes for organ donation, burial versus cremation, the type of memorial you would like and any other important considerations for your funeral.
  • Protect your small business: If you are the owner of a business, you should make sure you have a detailed succession plan already in place. You can use other estate planning tools to help that succession go as smoothly as possible.
  • Store your estate planning documents: You should provide your estate executor and your attorney with access to your estate planning documents so your wishes can be made clear as soon as you have passed away.

For more tips and guidance to help you craft a thorough estate plan, consult a skilled Ohio estate planning lawyer with Seif & McNamee, LLC.

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