Some people put off estate planning until late in life. They may have different reasons for doing this, but the common one is that “estate planning is complicated.”
Estate planning may be uncomfortable as you are essentially making decisions about how matters should be handled when you die or become incapacitated. But you can make the process easier. Here is how:
Focus on the benefits
Estate planning offers numerous benefits. It allows you to protect your loved ones, state your wishes regarding how to keep your legacy alive, eliminate family disputes and minimize transfer taxes. This is a final loving act you can do for your loved ones.
Work with professionals
An estate plan includes several documents, including a will, guardianship designations, health care proxy, powers of attorney, living will and/or a trust. Experienced professionals can help you draft these documents and make informed decisions.
For example, a financial advisor can help you take inventory of all your assets and determine the best ways to distribute them. A tax professional can help you implement strategies that minimize transfer taxes and so on.
Realize that nothing has to be set in stone
The estate plan you draft now may not be the final version. You can update your documents when circumstances in your life change. Knowing that you can always make changes can help you feel more comfortable about the plans you have today.
You can add and omit assets, add or remove beneficiaries and change the important designations, including who you want as executor or guardian of your minor child. You don’t need to wait until you are married or have “enough'” assets or a child to start estate planning. You can create one and update it later.
The tips above can make estate planning more manageable for you, but legal guidance is wise.