Suggestions to Get Started with Your Estate Plan -- By: Stella Knight

You’ve heard the old saying: “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you should do today.” Because of
your busy lifestyle, there are many people, places, and activities vying for your time and attention.
It’s up to you to prioritize your tasks. Don’t wait until a crisis before deciding to take action and
prepare a will or other estate planning documents. If you wait, some of your options may be limited
or off the table. Relax. You have time to prepare – here are some suggestions to get started with
developing your estate plan.

1. Identify your (and your spouse’s) assets and liabilities. Remember to include 401(k)
and 403(b) plan balances, as well as life insurance, jointly owned assets, and your individual retirement
accounts (IRAs). If you bought your home years ago, it may have a significantly higher value
in today’s market. This is the size of your estate.

2. Determine how each asset is titled (individually, joint with rights of survivorship,
etc.) Many assets will pass by operation of law, outside of your will or trust. For example, bank
accounts with rights or survivorship will pass to the surviving co-owner. Be sure your individual
assets are coordinated to achieve your overall estate plan objectives.

3. Decide on your estate plan objectives. Are there special circumstances to consider:
family members with special needs, farming operations or other business operations, or an
incompetent or incapacitated spouse? Who are your heirs? Are tax strategies one of your objectives?
Unless you have a will, your special friend, charity, or distant cousin will not receive anything from
your estate at your death.

At this point, you may be concerned with just getting something in place. A simple will may
serve your needs for now and you can always amend or change your will later to reflect changes in
your circumstances or family situations. Having something in place will give you peace of mind. At
a later date you may consider other legal documents such as: durable power of attorney, health care
power of attorney, and revocable living trust. These documents are extremely valuable tools and
useful during a person’s lifetime.
Visit my website at for an estate planning worksheet to get you started.

Suggestions to Get Started with Your Estate Plan -- By: Stella Knight Suggestions to Get Started with Your Estate Plan  -- By: Stella Knight Reviewed by kensunm on 10:46:00 PM Rating: 5

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