It is hard to turn on the news lately without a reminder of our own mortality. It is simply a fact of living in today’s world. But, these news stories are also constant reminders that everyone needs an estate plan. To that end, the following are the estate planning basics.
The first thing is to inventory everything. Even for the young, when we start to look around and inventory all of our stuff, we often find we have more stuff than we thought. Of course, this list will include tangible assets, like personal possessions, cars, houses, etc. But, the list should also include intangible assets, like cryptocurrency, checking accounts, etc. Make sure to value these items to ensure equity within distributions to heirs. After all, we do not want our family fighting over these things.
Now that one knows what they have and what those items are worth, it time to think about one’s final directives. This includes how one wants their remains handled, like cremation, burial, etc. It also includes who should make medical decisions if one becomes incapacity, in addition to guidance for those medical decisions, like how long to maintain life support, organ donation, etc.
Make a list of everyone that should receive something. These are one’s beneficiaries. Think about what each one should receive and how much. Remember, keep it as equitable as possible and to think about the value of those items to the person receiving them. Sometimes, something that is not valuable to everyone is priceless to another.
Call an attorney. The estate planning attorney will take all of this information and craft an estate plan, based on one’s wishes. The attorney will also make sure that the estate plan is legally enforceable. Remember, those pre-packaged estate planning options from the internet may not be valid in Texas, and that pre-packaged product may not actually be what one needs. Indeed, one never knows what they do no know, and it is the attorney’s job to not just figure out what you want, but also what you need. For Beaumont, Texas, residents, we are here to help.