Unfortunately, there is a common misconception that people are not old or wealthy enough to plan an estate. However, this process is beneficial for everyone, regardless of age or income. If you are ready to begin estate planning, you may not know where to start. This blog explores the steps you can take to initiate this process, and you’ll learn why it’s essential to contact a Nassau County estate planning lawyer to help you navigate the steps you must take to protect your assets and loved ones.
Where Do I Begin When Estate Planning?
If you are ready to embark on the estate planning process, the first thing you can do is start taking inventory of your assets. Odds are, you have more than you realize! You’ll want to make two lists – one with tangible assets and the other with intangible assets. The first list will include homes, vehicles, collections, and other personal belongings, while the second will encompass any bank accounts, businesses you own, insurance policies, and stocks.
Once you have this list, you can start determining which beneficiaries you would like to receive which assets. Assigning beneficiaries to assets can help you determine the distribution of your estate upon your passing. You should also name a guardian for your minor children and pets, as this can provide peace of mind they will be cared for upon your death. You should also check your life insurance policy to ensure it can help support your family.
Next, you’ll want to ensure your wishes will be met if you become incapacitated. As such, you should establish a medical power of attorney. This grants someone of your choosing the authority to make medical decisions based on your behalf. You will outline the care you wish to receive, as this ensures you can receive care that makes you comfortable if you cannot advocate for yourself. Additionally, you should create a financial power of attorney. This allows an entity to make financial decisions on your behalf, such as signing documents or selling assets.
Do I Need To Do Anything After?
Once you establish these documents, you may assume you have nothing left to do. However, you must make additional changes and updates as necessary. For example, if you welcome a grandchild into the world and want to ensure they receive a portion of your estate, you’ll need to update your estate plan. This is also the case if you get a divorce, remarry, acquire new property, sell assets, or go through any other significant life changes.
If you are ready to start this process or need to make changes to your estate plan, it is crucial to enlist the help of an experienced attorney to help ensure you adhere to the proper steps. Unfortunately, those who try to do this on their own may find their plan contains language that invalidates it, leaving their estate and beneficiaries in the hands of New York.
At Barrows Levy, we understand how important protecting your estate is. As such, our dedicated team has the tools and experience you need to help make this process as simple as possible to help you achieve peace of mind for the future. Contact our office today to discuss your wishes.