How to Start Estate Planning

November 02nd @ 9:00 am

Begin the estate planning process to protect your assets and family members from the unforeseeable in life.

It’s easy to postpone planning for one’s incapacitation or death. But, to protect your assets, and more importantly, your loved ones, it’s well worth asking yourself these uncomfortable questions. Having set, written wishes for managing your health care, real estate, and bank accounts and other financial affairs takes a significant burden off your family members.

If you’ve decided to learn how to start estate planning in Lancaster, OH, you’ve already taken a huge step in the right direction. This process can feel overwhelming, so we’ve broken it out into a series of steps you can take to make sense of your responsibilities. Keep reading for guidance on creating a long-term plan that best fits your needs!

Your 3 Step Guide to Establishing an Estate Plan

Although estate planning is far more involved than merely three-steps, the information found below is a great starting point for anyone beginning to plan for their financial future.

  1. Create a Last Will and Testament

    42% of baby boomers do not have a will, which many attribute to feeling as if they don’t have enough to leave behind. Naming beneficiary designations is an important step in the estate planning process if you plan to pass any savings or assets onto an heir. Without written legal documents specifying how to handle funds and personal property, your loved ones would have to go through probate court, which is time-consuming and expensive. Plus, once you begin to take inventory of your assets, you may be surprised at all that you have to pass on. Consider tangible assets, such as your home, land, vehicles, and valuable possessions, as well as your intangible assets, including bank accounts, retirement accounts, and life insurance policies.

  2. Establish Directives

    We’ve all heard that we need to identify a power of attorney, but what does this actually mean? What obligations and responsibilities does this person have?

    Ultimately, whoever you assign to this role will make legal decisions on your behalf if an illness or disability prevents you from doing so yourself. Many choose to spell out their wishes for receiving medical care by establishing a living will, and combine it with the power of attorney assignment, which is known as an advance health care directive.

    Similarly, once you become incapacitated, this person is responsible for managing your financial affairs, including writing bills and filing taxes. Depending on your needs and interests, it may make sense to set limitations or have different individuals occupying these roles. In this case, it may make sense to set a durable power of attorney for medical care as well as a financial power of attorney.

  3. Protect Family Needs

    Aside from naming your loved ones as beneficiaries, there are several other ways to assist your family. Guaranteeing that you have enough life insurance to cover funeral arrangements, mortgage payments, college tuition, and any other desired short-term or long-term expenses is a big one. Finding the best life insurance policy is so specific to your needs, so it’s best to meet with a financial advisor who can help you make the right considerations. On top of covering financial affairs, you may want to name a guardian and medical care wishes for minor children. This is an important step for even young married couples or singles with children under the age of 18.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the factors that play into estate planning. From minimizing inheritance and estate tax liability to establishing a living trust and making tough health care decisions, this entire process is extremely intricate. However, it is so important to protect you and your family against the inevitable. Begin planning for your financial future by contacting Columbus’ best financial advisors! Schedule a consultation with Royal Oak Financial Group today to discuss estate planning in Lancaster, OH.

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