When you start to get older, you may realize that you need an estate plan. To begin with, your estate plan may be able to be minimal, containing just a will or trust and powers of attorney. You might also opt to have an extensive estate plan that goes into great detail.
The documents you include in your estate plan may vary based on your circumstances, such as if you have children or if you are wealthy, but it’s still important to know how to set up an estate plan. Here are three steps to follow to get started.
- Talk to an estate planning attorney
The first thing to do is to talk to an estate planning attorney about your need for an estate plan. If you have no plan right now, you may have questions about what the plan can and cannot do. Since everyone’s circumstances are different, getting to know your legal options and the protections available to you is helpful at the start.
- Review the drafts to be sure they are correct
Once you talk to an attorney and decide which documents your estate plan needs right now, you’ll go through and work on the drafts. Once you give the attorney all the information they need, they’ll draw up the draft and have you review it. Check for mistakes like typos or misspelled names to avoid legal trouble later on.
- Update your beneficiaries
Finally, after you set up the estate plan, you may need to address other accounts that have beneficiary designations. For example, your retirement account or life insurance policy will let you designate a beneficiary regardless of what your will says. To keep those accounts and your will in line, make sure to update the beneficiaries to match.
Setting up your estate plan early in life is important because it protects you and those you care about. The specific documents you will want to have in place may vary based on your circumstances, which is why it’s smart to learn more about your legal options and to choose those that suit your situation.