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The 4 Main Steps in Estate Planning

Posted by Elaine on

People often associate estate planning with wealthy individuals and complex trusts. However, estate planning is an important tool for everyone, regardless of age or assets. Simply put, estate planning is the process of making decisions about what will happen to your property after your death. This can include everything from ensuring that your loved ones are taken care of financially to designating a guardian for minor children.

While it may be difficult to think about your own mortality, estate planning can provide peace of mind knowing that your affairs are in order. It can also save your loved ones a great deal of stress and financial burden during an already difficult time. Anyone who owns property or has minor children should take the time to create an estate plan.

When it comes to estate planning, there are a few key things that you need to do in order to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Here are the four main steps in estate planning:

1. Meet with an estate planning attorney

Estate planning is an important step for anyone with assets to protect. An experienced estate planning attorney in Bend Oregon can help you create a plan that meets your unique needs and objectives.

There are a number of factors to consider when creating an estate plan, including how to distribute your assets in the event of your death, how to minimize taxation, and how to manage your affairs if you become incapacitated. An attorney can provide guidance and help you navigate the often-complex world of estate planning.

In addition, an attorney can help you update your estate plan as your circumstances change over time. For example, you may need to make changes if you get married, have children, or acquire new property.

Meeting with an attorney is a good first step in creating an estate plan that meets your individual needs.

2. Determine what you want to happen with your estate after you die

If you don’t have a will or other legal document outlining your wishes, the state will determine how your assets will be distributed. This can often lead to fighting among family members and close friends, which is the last thing you want. To avoid this situation, it’s best to sit down and think about what you want to happen with your estate. Do you want everything to go to your spouse? Would you like to leave certain items to specific family members or friends? Once you have a clear idea of what you want, you can put your wishes into a legal document. This will ensure that your estate is handled according to your wishes, rather than being left up to chance.

3. Create or update your will

As you embark on your estate planning journey, one of the first things you’ll need to do is create or update your will. A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for how your assets should be distributed after your death. This includes everything from your savings and investments to your real estate and personal belongings. Creating a will gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of according to your wishes. It can also help to avoid clashes among family members or friends about who gets what.

4. Name an executor for your estate

When it comes to estate planning, one of the most important decisions you can make is appointing an executor. The executor is the person who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes after you pass away. They will need to be organized and detail-oriented, as they will have a lot of paperwork to file and deadlines to meet. They will also need to be able to handle money responsibly, as they will be responsible for distributing your assets according to your wishes.

Ideally, you should appoint someone who you trust implicitly and who has the time and ability to take on this responsibility. Many people choose a close family member or friend, but you can also appoint a professional such as a lawyer or accountant. Whoever you choose, make sure that they are aware of the role and are willing to take on the responsibility. Appointing an executor is an important part of estate planning, so make sure you choose someone who you can count on.

Estate planning is an important process, and it’s crucial that you have the right team of experts helping you. If you need help finding an estate planning lawyer in your area, please don’t hesitate to reach out Jonathan Mishkin. Thanks for reading!