Estate planning is one of the most important undertakings you can ever make. An estate plan allows you to make the essential arrangements so that your assets, also known as estate, can go to the right people when you pass on.
But, an estate plan will only express your wishes when you get it right. There are certain key questions you need to ask when creating your estate plan. Here are some of them:
What do I own?
The process of creating an estate plan starts with the identification of all your present possessions. It is important to note that you cannot include what hope to own in the future in your current estate plan. That said, assets can either be tangible or intangible. Documenting your assets is a crucial component of the estate planning process as it will help you answer vital questions. Assets may include your bank accounts, life insurance policy, 401(k)s, IRAs, physical assets like properties, antiques, vehicles and any other assets in your name. It helps to understand what you can or cannot include in your estate plan.
Should I discuss my estate plan with my loved ones?
Depending on a couple of factors such as your health condition and age, it may be in your best interest to share the content of your estate plan with your loved ones. This can minimize potential conflicts down the road. Even if you are uncomfortable sharing copies of the estate plan documents like your will, powers of attorneys and living trusts with your heirs, be sure to give them a heads up, especially if you have assigned certain roles like executor and medical power-of-attorneys to them. Additionally, be sure to inform them where you have kept these vital documents should you be incapacitated or pass on suddenly.
An estate plan articulates your wishes regarding your future and assets. These are some of the questions you may want to ask when creating your estate plan for the first time.