Estate planning can seem like a complicated task, but it does not have to be.
In addition to writing a will and possibly setting up a trust depending on your circumstances, there are a few key steps you should consider in your estate plan.
1. Name an executor
The executor is responsible for ensuring that all assets and possessions are properly distributed to heirs and beneficiaries according to the will. Choose someone you trust to handle the responsibility ethically. Though executors are often family members, you may select whoever you choose.
2. Name a medical power of attorney
A medical power of attorney is someone you choose to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated through illness or injury. This includes everything from necessary surgeries and medical treatment to end-of-life care decisions. Choose a person you trust to act in your best interest and discuss your wishes with them. It is also wise to set up a financial power of attorney to make financial decisions for you under the same circumstances.
3. Make accounts payable on death
Probate is a time-consuming process that can take several months. In order to avoid unnecessary delay for your heirs to access funds, set up your bank accounts to be payable to named beneficiaries upon your death. Set up life insurance and retirement accounts the same way. Instead of waiting for these accounts to pass through probate, your beneficiaries will receive the funds without delay after submitting a death certificate after you pass.
Review your estate plan every few years and after any significant life change to make sure your plan fits your current life circumstances and wishes.