Planning your estate is not the most exciting of tasks, and for most people, their estate plans are treated much the same as their tax return — they delay it much longer than they should do, and for this reason, the task feels more stressful and complex than it should. But when you are proactive rather than reactive regarding your estate plan, you can take the time to reflect on your life and consider the legacy that you would like to leave. You are able to look into all of the different options and you may come to enjoy the process of planning for your loved ones’ financial futures.
If you want to be proactive in planning your estate rather than reactive, you will need to take initiative now and take the first steps. The following are some top tips for proactively planning your estate.
Reflect on your life and the future
Throughout your life, you will have developed certain value systems, lasting relationships and friendships and you may also have benefitted from the services of charitable organizations. Now is the time to reflect on how you would like to contribute in the future. For example, you may decide that the most important thing for you is to guarantee your grandchildren a college education. Alternatively, you may want to make a significant contribution to a charity that is close to your heart. Engaging in this process can be uplifting and life-affirming.
Understand the law
Understanding how probate, state laws and federal laws will affect your ability to make significant contributions is important. Knowing how the law will affect you can help you to start creatively planning your estate, for example by setting up trusts in your loved ones’ names.
Prepare for long-term care
You should also make sure that you set up health care directives or state your wishes in the event that you become incapacitated.
If you have not yet planned your estate, be proactive so that you can have control over your legacy and have peace of mind that your wishes will be honored.