Exploring Social Security Cases and Outcomes

Be Prepared: How to Get Started on Your Estate Plan

by Marie Caldwell

Planning your estate isn't an easy process to go through. But, the work you do to create your estate plan can actually help your family in the long run. If you haven't started working on your estate plan, now's the time to do that. If you're not sure where to get started, the information provided here can help you to get started. 

Reduce Family Tax Liability

When you sit down to create your estate plan, you need to consider the tax ramifications. The wrong plans could leave your family paying more taxes than they should. This is especially true where certain assets are concerned. For instance, if you plan to leave cash to your family members, they could end up owing a significant amount of taxes. One way to relieve the tax burden is to change the way you leave assets to your loved ones. You can do that by purchasing life insurance policies for your family members, rather than leaving cash. You can leave them with the same amount of money, but your family members will be able to keep more of it. That's because life insurance policies aren't taxed. 

Create Clear Plans for the Assets

When it comes to creating an estate plan, it's crucial that you have an actual plan. Many people start on their plan but fail to follow through with the details. Some details that get overlooked include things like bank accounts, investment accounts, and personal property divisions. To make sure you create a clear plan for your assets, it's important that you meet with an attorney and a financial planner. That way, all of your assets are included and protected. 

Update Plans After Major Life Events

If you've created your estate plan, you may think that's all you need to do. But, that's not the case. Your current estate plan may be perfect for the way things are right now. However, the plan might not be so perfect once changes occur. That's why it's important that you update your estate plan after every major life event. This should include the birth of children or grandchildren, marriages, or divorces. 

Include Plans for Your Final Years

When it comes to creating your estate plan, it's important that you include plans for your final years. As you age, your life will go through many changes. Your estate plan should include plans for your medical needs, including advanced directives and end-of-life plans. That way, your loved ones know what your final wishes are. 

Talk to an estate planning attorney for more guidance.