The process of estate planning goes far beyond just drafting a will. A thorough estate plan accounts for all assets, and confirms that they will be distributed smoothly to beneficiaries based on instructions written by the trustor. If you are a trust creator who is thinking about how to approach the daunting task of inventorying their assets, consider these tips to make your life less stressful:
Start in Your Home
To begin, go through the inside and outside of your property and write a list of your valuable items. Examples could include the property itself, vehicles, collectibles, jewelry, antiques, art, laptops, computers, power tools, etc. Non-valuable but sentimental items can be a part of this list if you ultimately want someone else to have it in the future. Next, add non-tangible items to your list, such as 401k plans, bank accounts, IRAs, life insurance policies, copyright, trademarks, patents, health insurance, long-term care, deeds,
Choose Beneficiaries and Executor
Once you have a complete list of your tangible and intangible assets, consider the people and organizations in your life. Are there certain loved ones you’d like to have a specific asset from your estate? Are there charitable organizations you are a part of or admire, and want to donate to their facility? While it can feel peculiar to think about a time when you are not here any longer, planning for who you want to have what from the estate will make things run smoother later on.
Consult with a Lawyer
There are some steps in writing an estate plan that you can handle on your own. However, for the best interest of your estate and your beneficiaries, having a seasoned estate planning lawyer to advise and guide you is going to make the entire process so much easier.