Creating An Estate Plan “Blueprint”
Thinking about what happens after we die – and what happens to what we leave behind – is one of life’s toughest challenges. Taking those steps and setting up an estate plan requires patience, strength, and strategy. This is a big challenge for many people – only 46% of Americans have a will describing what should happen to their property and money after they pass on.
When it comes to estate planning, having no plan is a plan – and not a good one. Without guidance from a will or other available tools, a person’s property and money can fall into the probate process and be distributed in a way that one wouldn’t have wanted.
The best way to avoid this scenario – and the complicated problems a grieving family would face as a result – is to create a basic estate plan. The first step is understanding that you don’t need to have all the answers right away. This is a process, and you have to start somewhere.
One of the best ways to get started is to create an “estate plan blueprint” before working on the legally binding documents and accounts.
An estate plan blueprint can include any number of things, based on your situation, but will usually describe:
- What Assets You Own? This can include everything from checking and savings accounts to your home, vehicles, retirement accounts, investments, and personal valuables – the list goes on. Most people would be surprised at what they have that could be passed down to someone else. In a recent survey, 33% of respondents said they haven’t planned a will because they don’t think they have enough assets, to begin with. This isn’t always true, though. If you sit down and work on a blueprint of everything under your name or in your possession, you might find it wise to create plans for them.
- Who Are Your Beneficiaries? Sometimes, this is as simple as listing your spouse or children as beneficiaries on your accounts and property. In others, this may be more complex. You may have preferences on how your assets would pass to siblings or other relatives, or you may have favorite charities that you wish to receive some portion of your money. Some people may even leave the bulk of their estate to a pet dog.
- How to Handle Your Health Care and End-of-Life Medical Decisions? It’s not pleasant to think about. However, it helps everybody, including ourselves, if we leave directives on handling health care decisions when we are incapacitated or unable to speak clearly for ourselves. Some of us may want a “do not resuscitate” order to avoid being kept on life support, while others may wish to have all measures taken to prolong life. Leaving an advanced health care directive (or “living will”) behind can save our families some excruciating decisions if our health goes downhill.
These are some excellent places to start, and it may help to go through this part of the process with an experienced estate planning attorney that can point out other things you might not have thought about. An estate planning attorney can then help put your plans into motion and create the legally enforceable documents you need.
The Tampa Estate Planning Attorneys at Strategic Counsel Law Group, L.C., Are Here to Help You Create a Blueprint For Your Estate Plan
The Tampa estate planning attorneys at Strategic Counsel Law Group, L.C., have worked with many people just like you and can help answer any of the numerous questions you will probably have about the estate planning process. We realize how intimidating it can be to take that first step – but you don’t have to do that all alone. To get started today, call our attorneys at 813-286-1700 or schedule a consultation online.