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Caring For Generations

Make these estate planning tasks a priority

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Estate Planning

There are many Indiana residents who are hesitant when it comes to discussing mortality. Some are afraid to die. Others would rather not think about the inevitability of death. However, neither fear nor avoidance can keep death at bay; it is a certainty in life. For this reason, it’s always best to make sure your affairs include making things easier for your loved ones when the time comes. The estate planning process can help. 

There are many advantages to estate planning, including the fact that it’s a customizable and (in many cases) changeable action. You may incorporate or omit whichever legal documents you like and may change and update your plan as needed, except for certain documents that are permanent, such as an irrevocable trust. If you’re ready to learn more and start planning your estate, there are several tasks that should be at the top of your list of priorities. 

Which estate planning documents do you need? 

The documents you include in your estate plan might be different from another person’s plan. For instance, if you own a business, you might wish to incorporate a business succession plan as part of your estate. It’s helpful to review the basics, such as a last will and testament, revocable and irrevocable trusts, special needs trust, powers of attorney, advance directive, guardianship and more.  

Determine what you want to include in your initial estate plan. You can always remove or add a document in the future. Once you have a good idea of which documents you need, you can move on to asset inventory.  

Take an inventory of everything you own 

This can be a lengthy process, especially if you own a lot of things. It’s easiest to list the largest (or most valuable) assets first, such as your home, vehicles, vacation property, artwork, etc. Next, move on to other smaller items, such as work tools, furniture, jewelry, a book collection and more. If you wish to leave a specific item to a particular person, make note of it on your list.  

Don’t forget to list non-physical assets and debts 

You might have non-physical assets to include in your estate plan. Such assets might be stocks and bonds, IRAs or a retirement plan. In addition to assets, your estate planning process will be more thorough if you also create a list of your liabilities. Granted, you might resolve some of them before you die, in which case, you can simply amend your list.  

However, it will be helpful to your family if you create a document that includes all debts, such as car loans, home mortgage or home equity lines of credit, as well as unpaid credit card balances and other types of debt. Next to each debt, write necessary information, such as account numbers or notes regarding where to find copies of loan agreements.  

Choose beneficiaries, guardians, executors, etc. 

When you draft a last will and testament, you’ll no doubt want to designate certain duties to specific people. Think ahead to choose beneficiaries, guardians, executors and more. Someone experienced in estate planning can review your needs and goals and recommend which documents will help you create a solid estate plan.