Estate planning is something that everyone should do because your financial future and the financial security of your family largely depend on it.

One thing I see often is people waiting for a major life event before they take action. This can be anything like a birth or marriage, but no matter what the event is, you shouldn’t wait. Even if you don’t have a spouse or dependents, you want to make sure there is a plan in place with a list of to-do items from a Newport beach financial advisor that dictates what happens to your money and property in case you die unexpectedly.

And the first step toward building that plan is coming up with a Will.

What Does a Will Do?

A Will is a legal document that allows you to designate who gets your money, property or anything else that belongs to you after you die, making it one of the cornerstones of the basics of estate planning. Even so, it’s important to remember that this document isn’t the end all of planning your estate.

Think about things like retirement accounts and life insurance policies. These allow you to name beneficiaries independent of people who are named in your will. Because of that, you want to make sure you review these policies periodically and update them as your life changes.

When creating your will you want to keep track of your assets with a list, as well as your bank accounts and anywhere else money is held? This will make the process much easier for your loved ones. Likewise, keep track of the people who helped you build your policies and make sure your loved ones have easy access to contact information regarding those planners.

Further Decision Making

Another one of the basics of estate planning is making sure you have a plan in place in case you become incapacitated and can’t make decisions for yourself. In this instance, you want what’s called a Durable Power of Attorney. This declaration makes it possible to name a person who will make decisions on your behalf. These decisions can be for anything ranging from financial matters to matters regarding real estate.

On the question of health care, you will need a Health Care Proxy and a Living Will. These declarations make your wishes regarding the end of your life known.  These are things you want to think about in the context of religious, moral, and ethical beliefs, and they should be made as soon as possible.

Trusts

Finally, there are trusts. These are often associated with the rich, but they are really one of the basics of estate planning for everyone because they are meant to provide for any minor dependents you have in your life. This section of your Will states that a trust should be established and name the people responsible to distributing the holdings to your children when they reach the age where you think they will be responsible enough to handle it.

Trusts come in different varieties so you will need to work with an estate planning attorney to figure out which kind best fits you and to make sure your heirs won’t be overpaying if you have more than allowed by estate tax exemptions.

Once you have the details of these basics of estate planning taken care of, you can rest easy knowing that your family will have one less thing to worry about.