Estate Planning Checklist: Things to Consider
Aug. 30, 2022
Estate planning is a critical part of being an adult and making some very tough decisions. An estate plan can provide instructions regarding how you want your final affairs to be handled after you pass away. Estate planning is crucial for providing you and your loved ones with peace of mind and eliminating uncertainties regarding the distribution of your property.
Estate planning involves many important considerations, which is why it may be necessary to seek the assistance of a skilled attorney. As an estate planning attorney at the Law Offices of Lawrence H. Nemirow PC, I represent individuals and families throughout California and educate them about considerations before drafting an estate plan. From my office in Los Alamitos, California, I serve clients in Cerritos, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Long Beach, Anaheim, and other areas throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties.
What Is Estate Planning?
Drafting an estate plan is an essential step any adult can take to protect and preserve their legacy. Estate planning involves making plans for what will happen to you and your assets when you are gone. Contrary to popular belief, estate planning is more than just preparing a will.
A comprehensive estate plan usually includes several components, including a will, trusts, powers of attorney, and other documents. The purpose of a proper estate plan is to provide instructions for the distribution of your assets after your passing and ensure that your wishes will be carried out in the event of your incapacity or death.
If you do not have an estate plan in place, your assets will be distributed to your heirs according to the laws of intestate succession. In that case, you would have no control over how your estate and family affairs are handled after your death.
Considerations Before You Draft an Estate Plan
Because estate planning carries serious and long-term consequences, it is critical to approach the process of planning for the future with sufficient knowledge. For this reason, you need to understand what is involved in drafting an estate plan and what to consider before you begin the process of estate planning.
Some of the steps you need to consider when drafting an estate plan include the following:
Assess the value of your estate. Before you take your first steps in estate planning, it is critical to understand how much your estate is worth.
Understand your goals and objectives. You cannot create a good estate plan if you fail to clearly identify the goals you want to achieve before you start planning for future scenarios and end-of-life matters.
List your assets and debts. Many people jump right into estate planning without making a detailed list of their assets and debts. If you skip this step, you may end up missing some easy-to-overlook assets or debts.
Consider your beneficiary designations. An essential component of any estate plan is designating who will inherit what in the event of your death. However, if your family situation changes after creating an estate plan, you will be able to update your beneficiary designations.
Choose the person(s) you trust to make critical decisions on your behalf. An estate plan is not comprehensive without naming a person or persons who would make medical and financial decisions on your behalf when you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.
Specify your preferences for your funeral or burial. With an estate plan, you can provide instructions for final arrangements and make your death and burial preferences known to your loved ones.
Make plans for your family and pets. If you have minor children, pets, or relatives with special needs, your estate plan may need to include additional provisions to protect and care for them.
Make donations. If you want to, you can donate some of your funds or assets to a charity or organization of your choice.
Consider a business succession plan. If you have a business, you may need to consider setting up a business succession plan to specify who will take over your business upon retirement, disability, or death.
There are a number of other things to consider and decisions to make when creating an estate plan. That is why the process may seem overwhelming and confusing, especially if you do not have a skilled attorney who can advise you on how you should proceed to create an estate plan tailored to your specific circumstances, goals, and needs.
Compassionate Legal Guidance
As an estate planning attorney with decades of experience helping people make plans, I am committed to providing compassionate legal guidance and reliable advocacy to clients in Los Alamitos, California, and the surrounding areas. At the Law Offices of Lawrence H. Nemirow PC, I help individuals and families take the necessary considerations when drafting an estate plan that serves their unique needs and goals. Contact my office today to get a case review.