If you're getting ready for an estate planning appointment, there are a few things that you should get in order. Understanding the preparations needed will help make the planning process easier and less stressful for you and your family. Here's a look at what you should have before you visit your estate planner.
Create an Inventory
In order to develop a comprehensive estate plan, you need to know everything that has to be addressed. The best way to do this is by creating a complete inventory of everything that you own. You'll want to think about not only physical assets but financial ones as well. This means considering all of your investments, insurance policies and any other funds that may exist.
Compile Records of All of Your Debts
Not only do you need to know what you have for assets, you also need to create a complete list of all of your current debts. In fact, sometimes it's best to have a folder with a copy of the current statement for every loan, credit card, installment account and utility bill that you have. This way, there's no question about what needs to be settled in the event of your death.
While you're creating the list, take some time to close out any open accounts that you don't currently use. This is a good idea not only to prevent any confusion as your accounts are being settled, but also to prevent fraud.
Identify a Trustworthy Administrator
You need someone who can serve as the administrator of your estate. This person ensures that all of your distribution and management terms are met. Look for someone you trust to do what you're asking, and don't let emotional considerations get in the way. Emotional involvement can sometimes make it difficult to handle estate administration, so it's often in your best interest to appoint someone other than your spouse. Look to a friend who can be objective and authoritative instead.
Working with an estate planner like Great Plains Diversified Services Inc is the best way to ensure that everything is completed properly. Once you've found a planner you trust, have him or her keep copies of your plan, inventory and debt records on file. Update them every year so that you can be sure that everything is accurate. If you experience a significant life change, such as purchasing a second home or farm or investing in another sizable asset, update your estate plan right away to avoid any potential issues.