Wealth management advice

Estate planning checklist

No matter where you are in life, you should always prepare for the unexpected.

One way you can do that is by properly planning and taking care of your estate.

1. Assign a power of attorney

2. Write a living will

3. Document both primary and contingent beneficiaries

4. Establish a healthcare proxy

5. Write a testamentary will

6. Make sure everything you do can be found

Here’s everything you should do as soon as possible to ensure you and your loved ones are properly taken care of.

#1: Assign a power of attorney

Should you ever become unable to act on your own behalf, you’ll need to have someone legally identified to make decisions for you. It can be anyone you trust.

Whether it’s your spouse, grown child, a relative, a close friend, or a caregiver, you can give anyone you want power of attorney.

#2: Write a living will

A living will allows you to decide in advance what happens to you at the end of your life. This includes instructions for life support or any other type of emergency care.

It’s best to do this should you have strong feelings about what kind of support you want to receive or decline.

#3: Document both primary and contingent beneficiaries

Do you have beneficiaries listed on your financial assets?

Meaning do you have beneficiaries listed on things like:
– Insurance
– IRAs
– Investment Assets

Be sure to name both primary and contingent beneficiaries just in case something happens to your primary beneficiary at the same time as you.

Naming your beneficiaries is important if you have a living trust. Clearly outlining how much each person gets and when they get it will clear up any confusion and make your passing a a little easier for everyone in your private circle.

#4: Establish a healthcare proxy

Similar to a power of attorney and a living will, a healthcare proxy can make all healthcare decisions on your behalf should you be unable to communicate your wishes.

Obviously, you will want to discuss and document any and all possibilities prior for this to be of any value to you and your loved ones.

#5: Write a testamentary will

A testamentary will explicitly states who gets what when you die. If you are a parent, it also states who will take care of your children. This type of will, when written when you are of sound mind and body, is the most irrefutable type of will.

It cannot be challenged by anyone, making it one of the most important things for you do on this checklist!

#6: Lastly, make sure everything you do can easily be found

It’s great to take care of everything on this list, but it won’t do anyone any good if no one knows about it.

Tell your executor where everything is and leave them a checklist of everything that needs to be taken care of. This way all of your assets are properly distributed and your last wishes are respected.

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