Comprehensive estate planning is an important part of aging, especially if you have already started a family. Estate planning for young families can be an unpleasant topic, but it is extremely important. Making sure that your heirs are provided for not only provides you with peace of mind, but also ensures that their needs can be met if you are not able to meet them yourself. When you begin to think about estate planning options, the following tips from a recent article in the Chicago Tribune can help you direct your energy and resources toward making the right decision based on your circumstances.
Make an Inventory of Your Assets
The first step in comprehensive estate planning is to figure out exactly what you are working with. You can do this by making a list of all of your assets so that you can see exactly what you have to leave to your heirs. Make sure to include everything: cars, checking accounts, retirement plans, digital property, trademarks you may own, jewelry, clothing, and any other assets you may have. This will give you an idea of how complicated the estate planning process might be for you and can help you determine which estate planning strategies might work best for you. You will also need to start thinking about who you would like these various assets to go to as that may have a significant impact on the types of estate planning strategies you ultimately engage in.
Consult an Estate Planning Attorney
Like other specific areas of law, estate planning is a complex subject. It is important that you work with an experienced estate planning attorney that has focused their practice and skills on helping clients with estate planning. It is dangerous and sometimes wholly ineffective to use do-it-yourself methods found online or in computer programs to plan your estate. These methods are not tailored to your specific needs and may not provide for your heirs in the way you would like to. Additionally, if you make a mistake with preparing such important documents then you will not be around to correct it once it is finally discovered.
Investigate Potential Options
Once you meet with an experienced estate planning attorney, you will start to get a better sense of what estate planning strategies might be appropriate for you in your circumstances. Look into them so you have a thorough understanding of how each of them works. What is the function of a Last Will and Testament? Is a revocable trust an option for you? What are the various processes involved in creating these types of estate planning vehicles? What are the fees associated with various estate planning options? Having a clear picture of the various positives and negatives of the many different estate planning options available to most people will help you make smarter choices about which options will work best for you.
Include Health Care
Health care is an often-overlooked aspect of estate planning. Today, people are living longer. While one obvious benefit of a longer life is being able to spend more time with loved ones, it is important to remember that the rising costs of long-term medical care need to be factored into your estate plan. Failing to account for the potentially high s=costs of medical care for your later years can significantly cut into the assets you wish to distribute to your heirs. By planning ahead for these costs, you can limit the financial burden they may impose on loved ones and make sure that you have quality care options.
Think about Your Funeral
Funerals are expensive. By planning for funeral expenses, you can help save your loved ones from a potentially significant financial burden. Preplanning for funeral expenses can also help save you money by locking in current prices before they continue to rise. It is important to think ahead to the type of funeral arrangements you would like so that you and your loved ones can ensure that your final wishes are carried out. Speaking with a funeral planner can help you anticipate the possible costs associated with funerals and burials in your area as well as help you understand the various nuances associated with funeral planning.