Planning for your family’s future is a big responsibility. And it’s one that you should take seriously. If you have dependents, the last thing you want is to leave them with nothing.
If you’re like most people, however, you may be procrastinating on this important step. After all, estate planning can seem complicated and even scary if you don’t know where to start or what steps to take next.
But estate planning doesn’t have to be complicated — especially if you’re willing to do it yourself instead of hiring an attorney. It’s actually something that any adult can do on his or her own without having to hire an expert.
Here are some tips to help you improve your estate planning efforts at home this year.
Your will should be updated every few years as your life changes and your assets change. A will can be as simple or complex as you want it to be, but most families find that a basic will form covers most of their needs with minimal effort.
If you have a spouse and children, then you’re already on the right track when it comes to beneficiary designations. However, if you don’t have a spouse or children, then make sure that all of your beneficiaries are up-to-date. If you haven’t updated any beneficiary designations since the last time the beneficiary information was changed, then it is time to do so now. Not only will this help ensure that they receive their inheritance in a timely manner once they pass away, but it will also help prevent any disputes over who should inherit what assets.
Make sure all title documents for your property are up to date and accurate. This includes real estate holdings, bank accounts, tax-deferred investments such as IRAs and 401(k)s, and other assets held in trusts or other entities such as corporations or limited liability companies (LLCs). It’s also important to keep track of all beneficiaries named on these accounts so they know what they stand to inherit when a loved one passes away unexpectedly.
Also, don’t forget to think about taxes tied to the property. If you have an estate over $10,860,000 for a married couple or $5,430,000 for a single individual, you will be subject to estate taxes over those amounts.
One of the best ways to make sure your estate is well-planned is to keep your documents up-to-date at home. A will or trust should be reviewed every five years or so to ensure that it still reflects your wishes and needs. If anything has changed in your life — such as where you live or how much money you have — then those changes should be reflected in your will or trust documents.
Life insurance can be a key part of any estate plan, both by providing an income stream for your loved ones after you’re gone and by providing the funds needed to pay off any outstanding debts. It’s important to consider both term life insurance and permanent life insurance policies, as well as other types of coverage such as disability insurance.
If you already have life insurance, it may be time to review your policy and consider making adjustments based on changes in your health or family situation. If you don’t have any coverage, learn more about available options and how they can help protect your loved ones’ financial security after you pass away.
Consider any structural issues or check up on septic issues at your home and business. Septic systems are used by more than 60 million people in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Will people in your family inherit a business? Make sure things are in order. It is estimated that 87% of consumers will read online reviews of local businesses in 2020, an increase of 81 percent since 2019.
If you follow these tips, you’ll find that estate planning is an easier, less confusing process. If you’re ready to be proactive about your estate and protect those that you love, one of the first steps is to get organized. Remember the tips we shared above, and you’ll be well on your way to making a plan that works for your situation.
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