The Covid-19 pandemic has placed an increased focus on legacy planning because it has highlighted the need to make sure that your estate plan is in order. Besides the fact that more people are realizing the value of adequate estate planning, other advantages like all-time high estate tax exemptions make this an attractive time to engage in estate planning, whether that means creating your plans or finalizing estate planning documents. This article reviews some helpful strategies you should follow to make the most of estate planning.
# 1 – Determine Your Net Worth
The best step to start estate planning is to assess your net worth. Fortunately, it’s often easy to quickly calculate your net worth by adding up the estimate of the value of all of your assets and then subtracting the total of your liabilities. The value of calculating your net worth is that after you’ve determined this value, you will need to assess if your estate will be liable for federal estate taxes. You should also determine if your estate could potentially be subject to inheritance tax.
# 2 – Decide On Your Need for an Estate Plan
Even if your estate is not subject to federal or estate taxes, you will need to consider other financial reasons why you might need an estate plan. For one, probate is often a costly and expensive process. Additionally, if you’re a business owner, have substantial retirement assets, or anticipate receiving a large inheritance, you should make sure to create a sufficient estate plan.
# 3 – Create Your Own Will
A Last Will and Testament is the best way to begin creating an estate plan. While many people with simple assets or few belongings might find wills alone sufficient, other people might decide that it’s critical to go beyond their estate plan and to create advanced estate planning tools like trusts.
# 4 – Create a Plan Addressing Potential Incapacity
Disability planning is a critical part of estate planning. Many people, however, give disability planning less attention than creating a strategy for what will happen after they pass away. Without a disability plan, your assets can end up in a court-supervised guardianship, which means that your loved ones will ultimately lose control of both you and your property.
# 5 – Establish a Plan for What Happens After You Pass Away
After designing a disability plan, you should make sure to address how matters will be handled when you pass away. Your plans should include deciding who will inherit what and when your loved ones will receive these assets. If you’re married, you should also understand what rights your spouse will have to your property.
Do Not Hesitate to Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer
If you need help planning for your incapacity or end-of-life issues, it can help greatly to speak with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney. Contact Ettinger Law Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation. We understand the challenges often faced in estate planning and can help you achieve your goals.