Your estate plan is a set of legal tools and instructions that help plan your future, primarily with what happens after your death. In an estate plan, you can use a lot of different tools to meet your goals, and it is important to understand that everyone has different goals and needs when planning their estate. Here are some of the most common steps of estate planning, though. You may want to evaluate some or all of these further as you begin planning your estate.
Create a will
The most basic part of estate planning is creating a will, and this is actually something you could do on your own; however, it is always better to hire a lawyer to do it for you. A will is a written tool that contains instructions and wishes that you have. Your will can state who your beneficiaries are and what you would like them to receive when you die. It can also state wishes for your kids if they are minors when you pass away. You can include other important instructions on your will as well, and it is best to talk to a lawyer to make sure you include everything you should include on your will.
Purchase life insurance
Another part of planning your estate may involve purchasing life insurance. If you want your family to have money to pay for your funeral costs or bills you have, providing them with proceeds from a life insurance policy is a great way to do this. You can also purchase life insurance to offer a way for your spouse to pay off your house mortgage when you die, or to provide money to your children for their college expenses.
Consider a trust for protection and ease of asset transfer
As you plan for your estate, you may also want to discuss the issue of a trust with your lawyer. A trust is a tool you can create while you are living to use for protection and ease of asset transfer after you die. This is not the only tool you can use for these purposes, but it tends to work well for most people.
Keep it organized and update as needed
One other step of estate planning involves keeping your information organized and updating it as needed. Estate planning is not a process you complete in one visit to a lawyer. Instead, it is something you do over the course of your lifetime, and you should make sure you visit an estate lawyer at least once every couple of years to make any changes that might be necessary.
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