Estate plans, generally speaking, are fairly fluid. By this, we mean you can update most parts of your plan with little to no headaches. That being said, we recommend you contact an estate planning attorney as early as 18-21 since you can change your plan as your life evolves. They may tell you that you only need a will and healthcare directives, or they may recommend various trusts as well. Either way, an estate planning attorney will be able to guide you toward options that best fit your needs, as well as help you determine what is included in your estate.
What is an Estate
An estate is the total of all assets owned by an individual. This includes real estate, personal property, investments, and any other assets of value. The estate is typically managed by an executor or administrator after the death of the owner.
The size and complexity of an estate can vary greatly. A simple estate may only include a home, a car, and a few bank accounts. A more complex estate may include businesses, investments, and property in multiple states.
What Will Be Included in My Estate?
Your estate includes all of your assets, both tangible and intangible.
Here is a more detailed list of what may be included in your estate:
Personal property (furniture, jewelry, art, etc.)
Investments (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.)
Retirement accounts (IRAs, 401(k)s, etc.)
Life insurance policies
Debts owed to you
Why Is It Important to Know What Will Be Part of My Estate?
Cataloging your assets will help your loved ones during the probate process where a court will record and distribute them to your beneficiaries. Also, knowing what will be part of your estate can help you structure your estate plan to avoid probate. Doing so will expedite the process of asset distribution, and your beneficiaries will get the property you left them much quicker.
Estate Planning Tips
Start planning early. The earlier you start preparing, the more time you will have to make sure that your estate plan is complete and accurate.
Get professional help. An attorney can help you create a will, trust, and other estate planning documents.
Keep your plan up-to-date. Your estate plan should be reviewed and updated regularly, especially if there are major changes in your life, such as marriage, divorce, childbirth, or the death of a beneficiary.
Communicate your plan to your loved ones. It is important to let your loved ones know about your estate plan so that they know what to expect after you die.
What If I Don’t Have an Estate Plan?
If you don’t have an estate plan, you should start today! As long as you are of legal age and sound mind, you can start planning your estate — it’s never too early.
If you don’t know where to start or want some guidance and tips to ensure you do everything properly, contact our estate planning attorney today!
Get Professional Estate Planning Help
Estate planning is a delicate process that can be unclear and confusing. An estate planning attorney can help clarify things and tailor a plan to benefit you and your loved ones.
Contact us today to gain peace of mind and start your plan for the future.