When you are setting up an estate plan, it’s always better to have the assistance of a professional. After all, depending on your assets, it can get complicated and you want to avoid errors that can be costly to your heirs. However, there are some who prefer to use “do-it-yourself” estate planning websites or forms to save money. The important thing is to dot all your “i’s” and cross your “t’s” to protect your heirs.
There are many reasons you should seek the help of a professional but if you decide to do-it-yourself, here are some things you will want to review in order to avoid any mistakes.
* Be sure to name a trustee or executor to your estate. You may also want to name an alternative trustee or executor.
* Don’t forget to name beneficiaries, as well as secondary beneficiaries, for all of your retirement accounts, bank accounts, insurance policies, and any other assets you own.
* Be sure to tell a trusted family member where your important documents are located, such as: a list of your assets, your will, and written estate plan. Include your online account numbers and passwords too.
* If you have minor children, don’t forget to name a guardian. To be on the safe side, you may also want to name a secondary guardian. If your first choice for guardian lives far away, name a local temporary guardian who can care for your children until their permanent guardian is available. Take the time to talk to those you choose about any details that are involved.
* Do you have certain assets you want to leave to someone special? Be sure to name the recipients for these personal possessions in your will or through special documentation.
* Do you have a trust? Be sure to properly fund and title the assets in the trust.
* Life happens. Be sure to update all of your estate planning documents as circumstances change, such as a birth, death, marriage, divorce, etc.
If you neglect to create an estate plan, it leaves the court system the authority to make the decision about how your assets will be distributed. If you have questions or need assistance, contact our office at (866) 497-9761 to schedule an appointment with our advisors.