We all live as if we have decades ahead of us, dealing with the present — we can’t know the future. And that’s why now is a great time to get a jump on estate planning. Do your family and loved ones know what accounts you have, where your financial information is and what your wishes are? Now is the time to tell them. If you start now, your plan will help keep your loved ones from becoming stressed if you suddenly become disabled or pass away.

You can begin to educate yourself about estate planning. You can start formulating how you’d want to be memorialized — how about creating a recording to share with your loved ones to help them by making the tough decisions in advance? 

It’s nice, also, to keep your accounts in order. Estate planning isn’t just for wealthy people — you don’t have to wait until you build up more savings. You may have a child or spouse who is financially dependent on you, so you don’t what to ignore your estate plan.

  • Plan ahead — an accident can result in an inability to make legal decisions; a durable power of attorney will name someone to act in your place if you are incapacitated
  • Designate a health care proxy to make medical decisions for you if you can’t.
  • Select guardians to care for minor children.
  • Consider establishing a trust — in many ways these are even more effective tools than wills.
  • Do some tax planning — although the federal estate tax affects only the wealthiest people, there are other tax issues including state estate taxes, hefty court fees, and attorney fees to cover the probate accounting.
  • Designate beneficiaries.

Meet with an attorney and tell them what your assets are and who you want to leave them to. The best option is to prepare a Revocable Living Trust, an entity that allows you to control your assets both while you are living and once you are gone. With this Trust, you will help your loved ones, and allow assets and property to transfer with ease- and avoids your loved ones from dealing with the probate process if done correctly.

Among the documents that are part of an estate plan, consider a will at the minimum, as well as a Financial Power of Attorney and a Medical Power of Attorney.  You can think of a will as a road map outlining how your property will be distributed if you’re disabled or die. In crafting a will, name a trusted friend or family member as the executor to help shepherd your estate through any court-supervised process, such as probate. You may want to seriously consider life insurance, particularly because you haven’t accumulated lots of money yet. You’d want your family to have assets to live on. You can choose a less expensive option such as a term policy for a set number of years.

There are a lot of moving parts, and the earlier you get started, the more choices you’ll have. For preparing your estate plan, our firm in Downtown Frederick has over 18 years in the field of Trusts and Estates and is ready to assist you. You can call our Client Relations Specialist at 301-696-0567 during regular business hours, email us at admin@lenaclarklegal.com, schedule online at lenaclarklegal.com, or speak to one of our 24-hour representatives after hours.