Making the most of our finances means being organized and prepared for the future. Taking the time to make sure everything is in order goes a long way toward reducing stress and increasing wealth. One area where many of us procrastinate, however, is estate planning. Whether it is fear of thinking of our own death or simply avoidance because we think it will be complicated, organizing the details of estate planning often gets left on the back burner. It’s time to turn that around and start planning for the future. Your children will benefit at one of the most difficult times of their lives.
First things first. You need to gather all your financial information together and look it over. If you are married, do this with your spouse. You need to know what you have in order to determine what you need.
Do you have a living will? This allows you to decide what kind of care you want or don’t want should you suffer an illness or injury requiring extreme measures. In addition, you may also want a healthcare power of attorney, which legally designates someone to make decisions for you if you are not able to do so yourself.
Next, take a look at your life insurance policies, as well as annuities or any other policies that pay out after your death. Check out the beneficiaries listed on your policies. Do you need to make any changes or additions? Are the titles of your properties and other assets in proper order?
Do you have a will? Many people think a will is only necessary if you are wealthy. However, if you have a family, a home, even a savings account, you really should have a will. This document states your preferences for all of your assets, as well as your desires for your minor children, should they be left without a parent. Prepare a will to declare a guardian for your children, should disaster strike. You should designate an alternative guardian as well, in case circumstances change and prevent your first choice from carrying out your desires. Many people avoid drawing up a will because they worry about the expense. If cost is an issue, you can download the forms for your state from the Internet for a minimal amount, usually under $50.
These are just a few steps you can take to begin your estate planning. They are basic, but they are the most essential. Why not get started today?