Steps To Take for Basic Estate Planning

Everyone should consider taking basic estate planning steps. While we don’t like to think about death, unfortunately, it’s an inevitable fact we all must face. As the famous Ben Franklin quote states, “In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.”

That means, while it may be unpleasant, it’s necessary to plan for your passing. Taking key steps now will make it easier on your loved ones later.

Learn more about the estate planning actions you should take now.

Make a Will

Creating a will is the best way to ensure your assets go to those you designate. Without a will, the government may decide who gets your estate. Avoid this by working with an estate planning lawyer to draw up a last will and testament to document who you would like to get each of your assets.

Create a Living Will

This is different from a last will and testament. A living will, or an advance directive, is a legal document that gives instructions for your medical care if you are incapacitated or too ill to communicate your own decisions. This can include measures to use and avoid to prolong your life.

Name a Guardian for Your Children

If you have minor children, you need to legally designate a guardian for them in case you, their other parent, or both of you, die. You will also need to designate who should handle your children’s inheritance from you, so you may also want to name a separate person to overlook their finances.

Establish Power of Attorney

In case you cannot make decisions on your own, you need to legally give a person the authority to make decisions on your behalf. These can include both medical and financial decisions.

Create a Living Trust

A living trust is a legal document that places your assets in a trust while you are still alive. After you die, these assets are given to your designated beneficiaries through a trustee. The benefit to creating a living trust is that your assets can go directly to your beneficiaries and don’t have to go through probate.

Verify Beneficiary Information

While creating your estate plan, make sure the information listed for your beneficiaries is correct. Verify you have selected the right people to be your beneficiaries, and double-check the spelling of their names, and make sure their social security numbers and date of birth are correct.

Make a Plan for Your Digital Assets

While you might focus on your finances and physical assets when creating your estate plan, don’t overlook the importance of making plans for your online accounts. This can include your online banking accounts like PayPal and Venmo, your email accounts, and your social media accounts. Make sure you document your login and password information and give instructions on how to handle each digital property.

Create a Plan for Your Burial, Remains

Because the cost of funerals and burials can be so high, you might want to make your arrangements ahead of time and set up an account to pre-pay for the expenses. You should also document your preferences for what to do with your remains, and where you’d like to be buried. If you want to donate organs, you should also designate that in a legal document.

Why Hire Our Estate Planning Attorneys

When you need an estate planning attorney, let the experts at Johnstone Adams LLC represent you. Ranked in the 2022 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” list regionally in 12 practice areas, we have experts in many areas of law to give our clients top-notch representation. In business for more than a century, our firm can mix its experience with the ability to evolve with the changing times.

To get started, use our online form or contact us at 844-682-7682 or

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