Making The Complex
UNDERSTANDABLE

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Breaking down the estate planning process

If there is anything that the recent months of unprecedented health concerns have taught, it may be that life is very fragile and uncertain. Yet, many still put off creating an estate plan that may provide a future of security and stability for their loved ones.

Estate planning can seem overwhelming, and that is one of the many reasons why people in Louisiana avoid this important task. However, by taking the process one step at a time, you may be able to create a legacy that offers peace of mind to both you and your loved ones.

One step at a time

The basics of estate planning involve deciding how to distribute your assets after your death. There are other issues at stake, but beginning with this foundational concept, you may gain momentum to complete the rest. You may find it helpful to start by following these steps:

  • Make a list of your tangible valuables, such as your property, vehicles, collections and other items, and obtain appraisals of their worth.
  • Inventory your intangible assets, such as financial accounts, investments, retirement accounts and business interests, and collect statements from each.
  • Decide who should receive which assets and how you would like your executor to divide your estate, and review the beneficiaries of your insurance policies.
  • Calculate what your family will need when you are not around to provide for them, and determine how much life insurance will take care of your family’s future needs.
  • Choose a trusted individual to be the guardian of your children if you should die while they are still young, and outline your ideal goals for their upbringing and education.
  • Choose trusted individuals, called power of attorney agents, to handle your financial and medical affairs if you should become incapacitated.
  • Create a medical care directive that outlines your wishes for medical treatment to assist your power of attorney.
  • Obtain sound advice about the most appropriate estate planning tools for your situation.

Will you need a trust that will bypass probate and allow your loved ones to access those assets more quickly? Perhaps, you have a child with disabilities who would benefit from a special needs trust. Maybe your estate is simple enough that a will is sufficient to meet your needs. No matter your situation, you will certainly want to make sure your estate plan is complete and complies with Louisiana laws to avoid leaving your loved ones with confusion or anxiety.

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