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How to create an estate plan

Creating an estate plan is important for adults in Colorado and around the country. While most people do not enjoy thinking about death, an estate plan can help people to protect themselves and their loved ones. While all adults can benefit from creating an estate plan, certain life events should prompt them to do so. Taking the proper steps to prepare for estate planning can make the process easier.

Life events and estate plans

It is a good idea to create an estate plan even for young adults. Unexpected events can happen, and having a plan can make everything easier. Several major life events should prompt people to start planning their estates, including the following:

• Marriage or remarriage
• A child’s birth
• A grandchild’s birth
• Starting a business
• Tax law changes
• Net worth increase
• Inheritance
• A spouse’s death

People who already have estate plans should review and update them whenever any major changes in their lives occur. For example, if someone gets divorced, a review of the estate plan can help to prevent unintended outcomes.

Preparing for estate planning

To prepare for the process, people should familiarize themselves with the basics and the various types of estate planning tools. They should then write down their goals and what they would like to accomplish. People should identify who they will want to serve as executors or successor trustees and also list the people who they would like to receive their assets. They should review their life insurance policies or consider purchasing them.

After figuring out the basics of estate planning, people might want to meet with an experienced attorney who might help to determine which types of documents are needed to accomplish a client’s goals and objectives. An attorney may also offer guidance about the potential impact of gift or estate taxes, depending on the size of a client’s estate. With a well-written estate plan, it may be possible to avoid probate so that assets are transferred directly to the intended beneficiaries after a person dies instead of having to go through a lengthy court process.