Are you one of our New Jersey readers? Are you ready to create an estate plan for the first time? Are you interested in altering some of the details associated with your current estate plan?
It doesn’t matter if you’re in your 20s or 80’s (or somewhere in between), there are estate planning steps you can take to improve your situation and feel better about what the future will bring.
Although no two people are the same, there are some basic steps that everybody can follow when creating an estate plan. By getting on the right track, you’ll be confident that the right decisions have been made.
The following checklist can help you better understand estate planning, including the most important steps to take.
- Consult with an estate planning attorney. There are things you can do on your own, but it always makes sense to get the help of a qualified legal professional. This person can answer your questions, help you avoid mistakes, and allow you to implement a plan that suits both you and your family.
- Consider all your options. Before you can create an estate plan, you need to know what’s available to you. Are you going to create a will? How about a trust? Is there another type of legal document that could serve you well?
- Know your assets. A big portion of estate planning has to do with ensuring that your assets end up with the right person. This is why you need to know your assets like the back of your hand. Every asset should be accounted for. If it isn’t, you never know where it could end up upon your death.
- Focus on your health. Who will make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so? Since you don’t want to take a risk as far as your health is concerned, it’s important to create a power of attorney for health care and a living will.
- Create a financial power of attorney. This gives another person the power to step in and manage your finances should you become incapacitated. From paying your bills to managing your investments, your agent can be staffed with many responsibilities.
- Name a guardian for minor children. Do you have children under the age of 18? If so, you need to name a guardian to ensure that they’re protected in the event that you and your spouse pass on before they are of legal age.
- Purchase life insurance. This isn’t required, but it’s one of the best ways to leave money behind to your loved ones. For example, you could purchase a whole life insurance policy with the idea that the death benefit will be used to pay for your final expenses.
- Review your estate plan often. Regardless of the steps you take, regardless of your age, you should realize that things can and probably will change in the future. This is why it’s so important to regularly review your estate plan. You may need to make changes down the road to ensure that your estate plan is still meeting the needs of you and your family.
If you’re ready to create or alter an estate plan, you can take the steps above. Contact our law firm online or via phone at (732) 238-6000 for professional assistance. We’re more than happy to help you create an estate plan that suits your every need.