Estate planning comes with a lot of benefits. First and foremost, you get to determine what happens to your assets, and at the most basic level, who gets them. However, you can also use it to decide who will make your medical decisions, reduce the tax burden on your estate, create innovative ways to meet your heirs’ real needs and much more.
But do you know how to get started? One of the main reasons that people do not have estate plans is because they’re not sure what to do or what steps they need to take. That can make it all feel both confusing and intimidating. Rather than working it out, they just put it off for another day. This repeats itself until they eventually pass away without an estate plan, and their heirs do not know what to do with their assets.
It’s not really that difficult to get started. Take it step-by-step. For instance, one of the first steps is just to list out the assets that you own. They could include:
- Bank accounts
- Stock options
- Pension plans
- Real estate
- Retirement funds
- Life insurance policies
The list goes on and on, and it’s different for everyone. However, after you have your own personal list, then you can use that to guide you to the next step. Want to help an heir with their college tuition? Maybe you need an education trust. Looking to reduce the taxes on the estate? Maybe you want to move items to trusts or even give gifts in advance so that the value of the estate falls.
Again, it’s different for everyone, but it doesn’t feel as overwhelming if you just take things one step at a time.