Things to Remember About Estate Planning

Posted on: April 19th, 2010 by

Estate Planning - Rockville, MD“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  – Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin makes a very astute point that the problem is death and taxes.  While facing your own mortality is not the most pleasant thing, it is something you must do and estate planning is very important, especially to those you leave behind.  The first thing you must do is prepare a will.  Dying without one is probably one of the messiest mistakes you can make – people argue, mud gets thrown, and all of it could have been easily avoided.  There are many things to consider in your will, including who will care for your children, what to do if you get put on life support, and ultimately, who will get what.  Resolving these issues now will prevent a lot of problems later.

Details, details, details… they are of the utmost importance in estate planning.  There are many obvious details, like funeral planning or finding a guardian for living dependents, but there are easily overlooked ones as well.  Make sure that you have appropriately (and are up to date on) assigned beneficiaries for your retirement accounts.  Also, you need to choose a reliable executor and set up a durable power of attorney to direct assets and investments.

Make sure that you have an adequate amount of life insurance.  If your estate doesn’t amount to enough to replace your income  in terms of supporting your family, then the death benefit from an insurance policy may be the answer.  You need to calculate how much yearly income you will need to replace to determine how much insurance you will need to carry.  Remember to reassess your calculations though as your financial situation changes.  As your situation changes, so should your policy.

Although many of these things can be done on your own, if your estate is complicated, you may want to consider consulting with an accountant, estate planner, or estate lawyer to resolve any possible tax issues now.



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