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Estate Planning 101: A Checklist

There are many people who understand the importance of estate planning, but find themselves intimidated by the process. You want to take care of your family, even after your death, but where do you even begin? Which documents do you need? What arrangements should you make?

This post isn’t meant to be an in-depth guide by any stretch, but rather a brief checklist—a big-picture view of the steps you should take to complete your estate planning effectively.

Preparing Your Estate Plan, Step by Step

  1. Make a will. Name the beneficiaries of your estate and the guardians of your children.
  2. Make a trust. In most cases, we recommend a trust in addition to a will, which can keep your will out of probate and minimize the legal hassle for your beneficiaries.
  3. Write out health care directives. Express your wishes so that loved ones know what to do in the event of incapacitation or another form of medical emergency.
  4. Make a financial power of attorney. Appoint someone to handle your financial affairs should you become incapacitated somehow.
  5. Name an adult to handle your children’s property. Appoint a guardian of the physical assets they inherit, up until they are adults.
  6. File beneficiary forms. Name beneficiaries for bank accounts and retirement accounts.
  7. Purchase life insurance. For most individuals, we recommend life insurance as an important way to provide for your family after death.
  8. Consider funeral expenses. Prepaid funerals can ease the financial burdens your family members face.
  9. Make your funeral wishes known. It’s also helpful to clearly document your wishes for your funeral, burial, etc.
  10. Store your documents in a safe place. Ask your attorney about maintaining your documents with them.

This basic outline suggests the steps you should take in planning your estate—and for help with any of it, contact Singh Law Firm today.

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if you would like to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a revocable living trust.
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