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Estate planning checklist

Family Estate planning document

This estate planning checklist can help you understand what goes into the estate planning process and why it is so vital.

  1. Will

A last will and testament names the beneficiaries who will inherit your estate through the probate process. If you have young children, it important to appoint a guardian to ensure that they will be cared for by someone you trust. You should also name an agent who will manage money and property through the probate process.

  1. Trust(s)

Both revocable and irrevocable trusts can provide advantages during life and after death, and are often used to avoid probate. A skilled estate planning lawyer can help you determine which type of trust is right for you and your family.

  1. Advance Medical Directives & Power of Attorney for Health Care

Also known as a living will, an advance medical directive lays out your wishes when it comes to your medical care and end-of-life decisions. A power of attorney for health care and designation of patient advocates enables you to designate an agent who can make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.

  1. Financial Power of Attorney

Durable financial power of attorney grants a designated agent legal authority to act on your behalf regarding financial issues. This agent can typically take care of things such as paying bills, medical expenses, and managing your accounts and assets.

  1. Naming Beneficiaries on Accounts

Naming beneficiaries for bank accounts, retirement plans, stocks, bonds and brokerage accounts makes them “payable on death” and allows these funds to avoid the probate process. This tactic should be used with caution, as the death of even one beneficiary before your death can throw the plan into disarray.

  1. Life Insurance

Life insurance can provide financially security for your spouse and children in the event of your passing.

  1. Estate Taxes & Long Term Care Expenses

It is essential to consult with a skilled estate planning attorney who can help you understand not only how federal estate taxes work, but also advise you on how your estate plan impacts your eligibility for state and federal benefits eligibility for long-term care costs.

  1. Funeral Expenses & Final Arrangements

Make sure to clearly state your wishes regarding organ donation, disposition of your body and any other final arrangements. Consider whether to fund your plan in advance through an irrevocable  prepaid funeral plan.

  1. Business Succession Planning

If you own a business, having a business succession plan in place is crucial to facilitate a smooth transition for loved ones, partners and employees in the event of your death or incapacitation.

For more information, or to get started on the estate planning process, contact PDKGS Attorneys-at-Law in Midland, MI today.

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