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Estate planning checklist: Getting started

February 27, 2018 / 5 min read

Estate planning, wills, and trusts aren’t only for the "super wealthy" or those with complicated finances. Consider these estate planning tips that will have you better prepared for any crisis.

Talking about and planning for death or disability never tops watching your favorite TV show, reading a book, or turning on a ballgame after a long day.

Terms like estate planning, wills, and trusts may seem only important for the "super wealthy" or those with more complicated finances.

You may think to yourself, "I’ll tackle that someday," or "Hey, I have beneficiaries on my retirement accounts and life insurance — I’m good."

The truth is, if you don’t have children, and your balance sheet is made up of mostly retirement accounts (such as your 401(k) plan and an IRA or two) with beneficiaries listed, you may be in good standing. As your assets get larger and more complicated, the more planning you have to do. Consider these estate planning tips for your personal estate plan.

Setting aside time to address these key issues will have you better prepared for any crisis.

We recommend meeting with an attorney that focuses on estate planning in your state to review your balance sheet, discuss your personal situation, and work on drafting documents that are appropriate for you. Your situation may or may not warrant drafting and funding a trust, your attorney can help you decide that. There are online providers that allow you to draft simple documents if the expense of an attorney isn’t in the budget at this time. However, we recommend that, if you are able, work with an experienced attorney who specializes in estate planning in your state of residence.

Having a relationship with a holistic financial advisor (preferably a Certified Financial Planner) can also be helpful in this process to draft the balance sheet and review everything in advance of meeting with the attorney. Your advisor can also help get the titling and beneficiaries updated after the necessary documents are executed.

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