The Importance Of Estate Planning

DH and I sat down with our attorney last week to re-do our wills (they should be done every 5 years due to life changes) and to discuss estate planning. DH and I are also tossing around the idea of whether or not we should set up an irrevocable trust. We already have a Power Of Attorney in place as well as our Health Care Proxies.

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People don’t like to discuss or even take care of their end-of-life choices but for hubby and myself, it’s time for us to address our Estate Planning needs.

What is the purpose of Estate Planning?

Specifically, estate planning allows an individual to decide exactly who will benefit from their estate, and to what extent. Estate planning also ensures that the estate will not be destroyed by taxes imposed on the transfer of assets at death.

Who should consider Estate Planning?

People at every age should put together an estate plan that fits their needs – from something very simple for a 30 year old to a fully funded trust plan for a 60 year old. Here are the typical estate planning documents and issues to consider.

Estate Planning Checklist
  • Cover Estate Planning Basics. …
  • Plan Your Asset Ownership. …
  • Determine Beneficiary Designations. …
  • Cover Your Debts With Insurance. …
  • Get A Last Will and Testament. …
  • Consider A Living Trust. …
  • Consider A Financial Power of Attorney. …
  • Consider A Health Care Power of Attorney.

As you can see, Estate Planning is a very serious thing. I’m just scratching the surface here and have come to realize I need to find out as much as I can about Estate Planning. After our meeting with our attorney, I’ve taken a few books out of the library and have already started to do some research on the topic. There’s much to be considered. It doesn’t have to be confusing or overwhelming but nonetheless, taking care of our assets is a necessary topic.

How much does Estate Planning cost?

The costs depends on what you need to be done. If it’s just a simple will only, an attorney may charge a flat fee of $300. It’s very common for a lawyer to charge a flat fee to write a will and other basic estate planning documents.  A price of closer to $1,000 is more common, and it’s not unusual to find a $1,200 price tag.

When is the best time to discuss Estate Planning with your family?

Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is the best time to discuss your Estate Planning with your family. Usually most of your family is together and one of the things most people are thankful for is their family!

Thanksgiving offers a chance to get caught up with the ones you love, it can also open the door to discussions about the future, including how assets are to be distributed among family members and others. With the family gathered together, you may have a prime opportunity to broach the topic.

If you are near or in your 60s, it is imperative that you get your financials in order and take care of your own Estate Planning needs. Rent a few books out of the library and become familiar with the procedure. Most attorneys offer a free one hour consultation. Once you figure out what you need and what you would like to do, you can best utilize that free hour and finalize your planning needs.

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