It's inevitable. None of us gets out of this alive. If you have assets over $100,000 (including life insurance benefits), you should have an estate plan. Here are a few things to consider:
Goal: Everything goes according to your wishes. All legal documents are accurate, up to date, and executed.
Risks related to bad planning include:
- No named beneficiaries, or out-of-date beneficiaries on accounts and policies.
- Assets never get titled in the name of your trust.
- Assets may end up in Probate.
- No designated executor or named guardian for minor children.
- Leaving large sums of money to immature beneficiaries.
- Expenses for processing your estate (administrative costs, taxes).
- Feuds and bad feelings between surviving family members.
Others: Who drafted the documents? Who are the named executor(s), beneficiaries, guardian(s), trustee(s)? Are the designated people up to the task? Can key people get to the documents, and do they know who to contact with questions? How might your decisions impact family relationships?
Time: When should assets be transferred to beneficiaries? Immediately? Over time? Based on behaviors? Update your estate plan every five years and immediately after major life events (divorce, death in family, etc).
Question: Is your Estate Plan accurate and are documents executed?
Here are some examples of online resources related to estate planning:
- Estate Planning Basics (https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/estateplanning.asp)
- Choosing an Estate Planning Attorney (https://www.elderlawanswers.com/how-to-choose-an-estate-planning-attorney-15305)
Please note that these links are just examples, and other resources may be more suitable, depending on your situation.