An Estate Planning Roadmap: What To Do When

27 December 2018
 Categories: , Blog


Estate planning is an important and urgent matter but is often opted out of due to its overwhelming process. Avoid making the mistake of setting aside estate planning only to leave a loved one without legal inheritance after you depart from this world. Here are the steps towards making an estate planning roadmap that you can follow from start to finish:

Get a Trusted Estate Planning Attorney

The first step in your estate planning roadmap is getting an estate planning attorney whom you can trust wholeheartedly. Your estate attorney can help you make sure that your estates will go to whom you intend them to. Your attorney will also help you satisfy the necessary paperwork to put your wishes in proper legal documents. Needless to say, consulting an estate planning attorney is the most urgent step in your estate planning roadmap.

Identify Your Executor

The next step is to decide who will be your executor. Commonly, an executor is a close friend, parent, child, and beneficiary. However, in case of persistent family conflicts, it is best to get an independent attorney to serve as your executor. You also have the option to hire your trusted estate planning attorney or an accountant to assist your chosen executor in settling your estates. Discuss to your trusted planning attorney your family situation such as having two marriages or conflicting relationships between your parents and spouse. If you know that disputes are likely in your family, you can formally identify your estate planning attorney as your executor as well. Do this right after consulting your estate planning attorney and drafting your final will.

Fill Up the Necessary Information

At its most basic sense, a roadmap means an informal letter or document guiding your executor to carry out your last will regarding your estates. Hence, part of making your estate planning roadmap is providing your executor with all the necessary information that he or she might need in carrying out your will. Some of the information you need to identify in your roadmap are location of your will, tax records, power of attorney, insurance policies, and all other pertinent documents regarding your estate; contact details of your accountant, insurance agent, financial advisors and all other professionals involved in your estates; an inventory of digital assets like online brokerage accounts, email, computer password and home security system codes; location of family heirlooms and safe combinations if there's any; and information about your preferred burial and funeral arrangements. Update this list at least once annually.

Your estate planning attorney and executor are key personalities in your estate planning roadmap. The roadmap itself should be clear as to how your estates will be divided among your loved ones and come with complete information about your estates. Follow these general steps from start to finish and your roadmap is ready.