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Estate Planning Basics

If you have decided to begin planning for your future and the stability of your loved ones, you deserve congratulations. Far too many people fail to handle this important step in life, and they leave a mess of paperwork and litigation behind when they pass away. Starting to create your estate plan, however, can be easier said than done if the laws surrounding this complicated field are unfamiliar to you.

Estate Planning Checklist

Before you get too far into it, take a look at this rundown of the basics of estate planning. If anything seems like it might be difficult to complete, you should not hesitate to contact an estate planning attorney for assistance and guidance.

  1. Catalogue your assets: You will want to create a comprehensive list of anything of considerable value, such as large appliances, automobiles, and even your home. Do not forget that "nonphysical" items need to be recorded as well, such as 401(k) plans and savings accounts.
  2. Create a will and/or trust: It is hard to make any sort of estate plan without drafting a will or making a trust. In some situations, it might not be clear which one is right for you. This is when having a professional lawyer by your side comes especially in handy.
  3. Name an agent: What happens if you become incapacitated or bedridden? An agent can become your financial power of attorney and handle affairs for you. For some people, their agent will also act as the legal guardian of their children or manager of their property.
  4. Update life insurance policies: The companies that provide your life insurance will need to be notified if your beneficiaries have altered. Do not forget about annuities, too.
  5. Remember funeral expenses: An often-forgotten step is providing coverage for any burial or funeral expenses. Without this handled, your loved ones could be blindsided by thousands of dollars in costs.
  6. Safeguard your business: It will be nice to know that your business can continue regular operations after you are gone. Ask your attorney about setting up a succession plan that can ensure nothing falls apart.
  7. Keep records tidy: There is going to be a large list of important documents you need to duplicate and store. Anything and everything that could be pertinent to your estate plan should be filed away safely.

Of course, every state plan is just as unique as the person creating it. Depending on your situation, you might not need to follow every step on this checklist. It is also entirely possible that there are more things to do that are not included here. The wise choice is to consult with a New York estate planning lawyer from Novick & Associates, P.C. and cover all your potential bases. To get you started in the right direction without worry, we offer free case evaluations. Call (877)NOVICK1 today.