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Steps for Creating Your Estate Plan

An estate plan is a group of legal documents that provides details for the distribution of your assets and property following your death. It also may include important instructions regarding your health care if you become incapacitated. If you do not have an estate plan, you should. You can follow the following steps and get the help you need from our experienced estate planning legal team.

Determine Your Needs

There are many documents that may be part of an estate plan. Everyone’s estate plan is unique based on his or her own particular needs. Take some time to learn about the various documents that you may need as part of your plan:

List Your Assets

Make a list of all your assets and debts. You should have your finances in order so you can list bank names and account numbers. In addition, make a list of your property of value. Part of your estate plan will provide details on how you want your assets distributed following your death. You do not need to get into details, but it is helpful to make sure that you know the overall value of your estate so that it can be distributed fairly.

Gather Documentation

Gather all documentation and information regarding your accounts, charge cards, and loans. You will also need to include pension and IRA account details. Locate important paperwork such as the title to your vehicle, receipts for valuable belongings, and your home’s title. Put all of these essential papers in a file or safe deposit box for safekeeping. Make sure that you provide the key and the location of the paperwork to a trusted loved one.

Choose Guardians for Minor Children

If you have children younger than 18 years of age, you will need to designate a guardian for their care should you and/or your spouse pass away. This is one of the most important parts of an estate plan because you need to make certain that your children will be properly cared for if you are no longer there to do it.

Make Medical Care Decisions

Consider any medical care decisions that you want to make ahead of time. For example, if you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions for your own medical care, you may provide these decisions ahead of time. The most common consideration is a “do not resuscitate” order that you can put in place under specific medical conditions. Consult with your doctor to gain a full understanding of the choices that are available to you as part of your healthcare power of attorney.

Name an Executor

You will need to name an executor of your will or a person who will take over for you in case you are not able to make your own decisions. This person is generally called the executor, or in the case of a power of attorney, the person is the grantor. This is the person you trust to make decisions on your behalf and to handle your affairs following your death. It is essential that you inform the person you choose so that he or she can ask you any questions and learn where to find all of the paperwork he or she will need at the time of your death.

Get Legal Assistance

Your estate plan is a group of legal documents that must be properly drafted and executed. These documents must be well-written so there is no question as to their intent. An experienced estate planning attorney will work with you to ensure that all of your estate planning needs are met and will put the documents in place so they will be properly followed. Once you have an estate plan in place, you should revisit it whenever the need arises such as when a new family member enters the picture or when a named beneficiary dies.

Contact our skilled estate planning attorneys at Moen, Sheehan, Meyer, Ltd. to get your estate plan in order.

Published May 3, 2019
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