Don't have an estate plan in place? Start the estate planning process now!
You’ve heard it before. But it’s true: Oftentimes, the hardest part is getting started.
“For estate planning, discussing and contemplating your own death is not an easy thing,” says Jim Liddle, vice president, trust officer at First Community Trust. “Thinking about your assets supporting a spouse or your designated heirs can be overwhelming.”
But taking the time to put a plan in place will bring you peace of mind. Consider this: If you don’t have a will, everything—from who receives your possessions to guardianship of your children—will be decided for you.
Not sure where to start? Take it one digestible step at a time:
Start thinking about your wishes. Contemplate what you would like to have happen to the assets upon your passing. Do you want them to go to children, other relatives or friends, your favorite charities? “Having an idea of how you would like your assets to be disbursed at the time of your death is a great place to start,” Liddle says.
Talk about it. Next, speak with an estate planning attorney or a trust officer to help you determine whether a will or trust is appropriate for your situation. “There are many different options available, and speaking with someone who works with them every day may be advisable,” Liddle says.
Put it in writing. After an outline of a plan is in place, it’s time to work with a good estate planning attorney to have the estate plan drawn up and signed. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy process, and it’s well worth the relatively inexpensive investment: Good estate planning can result in a will that saves thousands of dollars in federal estate taxes.