A properly drafted and executed estate plan can help pass your estate to those you love in the manner that you chose.
Having a detailed estate plan is crucial if you want your wishes to be carried out as intended. Our team has created an estate planning checklist that you can use as a guide to assist you with your plan.
For assistance with creating your estate plan, contact a Virginia estate planning lawyers at Taylor, Taylor & Taylor, Inc. We are a full-service law firm with extensive experience in estate planning and administration. Contact us by phone or reach out to us online for help.
Prepare an Inventory
Before your estate plan can be created, you will need to gather various documentation. You should conduct a thorough inventory of:
- Property and real estate values
- Bank statements
- Retirement accounts such as 401k
- Stock investments
- Insurance policies and benefits
- Lines of credit
- Other debts
- Safety deposit boxes and valuables such as jewelry or heirlooms
As soon as you’ve completed your inventory, you’ll be ready to start creating your estate plan.
Estate Planning Considerations
There are numerous factors you should consider when drawing up your plans, such as:
- Who will you leave assets to? How much will each beneficiary receive?
- Who will you name as your minor child’s new guardian in the event of your death? What amount will you need to set aside for their care, education, and other expenses related to their upbringing?
- Who will have medical power of attorney if you become incapacitated?
- Who will have financial power of attorney if you become incapacitated?
- Who will you designate as the executor of your estate once you pass away? This person will be responsible for carrying out your wishes, so it is crucial to choose wisely.
Once you’ve made these important decisions, it’s time to finalize your estate plan by selecting an attorney to draft your estate plan.
Drafting Your Estate Plan
Drafting an estate plan could include establishing trusts for family members (which would allow them to avoid Probate) and officially naming your financial and medical powers of attorney.
If you have established a trust, do not forget to fund it. It may seem obvious, but many individuals accidentally neglect to fund their trust after establishing it. If you don’t fund a trust once it has been created, the assets you would have placed in the trust will have to go through the probate process after your death. One of the primary goals of a trust is to avoid this process.
You will also need to change the titles on any assets you place in a trust to demonstrate that ownership of those assets has changed.
Some types of accounts, such as retirement accounts, advise account holders to name a beneficiary who will receive the funds once the account holder passes away. You should make sure that your designated beneficiaries match the beneficiaries listed in your estate plan.
Update Your Estate Plan as Needed
Once you have successfully created an estate plan, you will need to update it over time. For instance, if you name a successor trustee or designate a power of attorney and that person passes away before you do, then you will need to update your estate plan.
You also might need to update your beneficiaries as time goes on. If there is a significant change in your life, such as a marriage, divorce, birth, or death, it could affect your chosen beneficiaries and you should update your estate plan when those major life changes happen.
Generally, we recommend having your estate plan reviewed by an attorney every 5 years. By regularly reviewing and updating your estate plan every 5 years, you can ensure that your wishes are carried out the way you wanted after you are gone.
If you are ready to get started on your estate plan or have an existing plan reviewed, contact a Virginia estate planning lawyer at Taylor, Taylor & Taylor, Inc. We have the knowledge and skills to help you preserve your legacy through a detailed and thorough estate plan. Call us today to set up your consultation.