There is something universally true about the reluctance to sit down and complete an estate plan. The habit of postponing this important task is so widespread that even many estate planning professionals fail to get their own wills, trusts and other documents in order. In fact, completing an estate plan is a New Year’s resolution for many attorneys, and can also be a great approach for others in Georgia.
As with so many tasks, making a list is a great place to begin. Create a list of priorities, including which loved ones should inherit. Also make a comprehensive list of assets, including savings, investments, retirement accounts, real estate and items of value. For many families, a list of sentimental items is also an important consideration.
With that information in hand, it becomes easier to structure a plan that allocates assets as desired, without overlooking anyone or accidentally structuring imbalance. This is also the time to decide whether to share the final plan with loved ones so they know what to expect when the time comes. When the entire family is aware of the plan, disputes can be minimized and any misunderstandings can be addressed in advance.
Next, think about the needs that could arise in the event of an incapacitating illness or injury. Health care directives, powers of attorney and a list of relevant passwords and account numbers might be part of your individualized plan. When it comes to this type of planning, sharing the documents is an important part of ensuring that the details are carried out as desired.
When the time comes to make this year’s list of resolutions, think about how wills, trusts and powers of attorney rank on your list of needs. Taking care of these items at the beginning of the year can help you get a jump on the rest of your resolutions. It also lets you rest easy in the knowledge that things are clearly outlined to guide loved ones when the time comes. For many Georgia families, that understanding is well worth the time and effort it takes to set up a comprehensive estate plan.