People across the U.S. are becoming more aware of the importance of estate planning, and a good percentage have taken the steps by creating a will. According to the Caring.com 2022 Estate Planning Survey, more than 33% of all adults reported that they had prepared one. Plus, the number of young adults with wills has increased by 50% in recent years. Through your will, you name an executor, designate beneficiaries for certain assets, and handle other important legal and financial affairs.
A will is often considered the cornerstone of estate planning, but it is important that you not overlook some of the other key components. There are opportunities to address during your lifetime, as well as factors that fall outside your will. You can learn about the details by consulting with an estate planning lawyer and reviewing this checklist for those who already have a will.
Designation of Health Care Surrogate
This document appoints an agent to make medical decisions and seek care if you are incapacitated because of illness or injury. You can also include specific instructions based on your needs and wishes for certain types of treatment.
Durable Power of Attorney
Incapacity may render you unable to make decisions regarding your financial affairs. Through a power of attorney, you can appoint a person to act on your behalf to manage the following:
- Bank, investment, retirement, and pension accounts;
- Real estate and investment properties;
- Your interests in a business, if applicable;
- Debts and accounts receivable; and,
- Many other legal and financial matters.
When you think about the massive number of accounts, passwords, ID numbers, and other personal identification information, you can see how your loved ones will thank you for leaving behind a list of your digital assets. Keep it as updated as possible and include instructions on how to restore a lost password to an email address.
There are certain assets that are not passed by your will, such as pay-on-death or transfer-on-death bank accounts and life insurance policies. Your checklist should include going through the individuals you have designated as beneficiaries to ensure they are still intact.
Revocable Living Trust
A trust can accomplish many objectives, including the protection of assets, control over distributions to beneficiaries, and privacy. If you are seeking these and other benefits, you can create a revocable living trust. It is set up during your lifetime and holds title to the property you transfer into it. The legal effect is you own little or no assets when used in conjunction with a pour-over will. Note that you may need to amend an existing will through a codicil.
Discuss Specific Options With an Estate Planning Attorney Today
These are a few of the most important items on your estate planning checklist, but there may be others to consider based on your unique circumstances. To learn more about how these documents work, please contact Francois Williams Legal . We can set up a consultation to review your estate planning goals and develop a strategy for meeting them.