Getting started with Estate Planning

The process of completing your estate plan is done in two steps.

Step 1 Completing the interview, receiving documents, and then signing and notarizing documents.

Along with some basic contact information about you and your beneficiaries, there are 5 key decisions you will need to make to generate the documents.

Your spouse will always be the first, this will be someone after your spouse.

  1. Who will manage your affairs when you die?
    This person is called a successor trustee.  They will manage the affairs of your estate after death.  I also recommend you have an alternate just in case.
  2. Who will take care of minor children if something happens to you?
    This is the guardian. Also, choose an alternate.
  3. Who will make financial decisions for you in case of incapacity?
    This is the power of attorney. Also, choose an alternate.
  4. Who will make medical decisions for you in case of incapacity?
    This will be your Health Care Agent.  Also, choose an alternate.
  5. Where will your assets go when you die?
    Do you want things divided equally?  Divide things in percentages?  At what age?  You can explain this.  We will review this after the interview is complete.

Step 2 Funding the Trust

Instructions for transferring the assets will come with the documents.

You will receive a Trust Funding Workbook.  This will be a checklist to identify your assets as well as a tool to keep your Trust updated.

Here are the main categories involved in the funding of your trust:

  • Bank Assets
    • Checking, Savings, CD’s, Money Market, Etc.
  • Investment Assets
    • Stocks, Mutual Funds, Investments
  • Life Insurance
    • Group, Term, Permanent
  • Auto/Home Insurance
    • Auto, Home, Umbrella
  • Retirement Accounts
    • 401k, IRA, 403b, TSP, Annuities
  • Real Estate
    • Primary Residence, 2nd Home, Investments
  • Businesses Owned
    • Business Interests
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