9 Steps for DIY Estate Planning

Estate planning involves setting up a plan that establishes who will eventually receive your assets and making known how you want your affairs to be handled in the event you are unable to handle them on your own for any reason. It is a complicated process, and it can definitely feel overwhelming. There are many components to estate planning, and while there is a common misconception that it is just about your finances, the truth is there is a lot more to it.

There is no denying that estate planning seems like a daunting chore, but it is something we all need to face. We have broken down the process into 9 easy-to-understand points.

Yes, there are a lot of steps that go into creating a complete Estate Plan, but we have made it as easy as possible for you, as follows:

1. Protect your family

Think whether you have adequate life insurance to leave your family in a position where they could maintain the life they currently lead.

2. Choose who you would like to be guardian of your children and pets

If you have children or pets, or if you care for another loved one who cannot care for themselves, you want to choose a guardian. Most often, instructions for guardianship will be included in your Will.

3. Determine and establish the necessary directives

There are several directives you should include in your Estate Plan, including but not limited to:

  1. Power of Attorney: gives someone else the power to make healthcare and/or financial decisions on your behalf

  2. Durable Power of Attorney: a variation of the above which remains in effect even if you become incapacitated

  3. Living Will: specifies your medical preferences (typically for end-of-life decisions like life support)

  4. Advance Directive: states what medical actions may or should be taken if you become incapacitated

4. List down your assets

Inventory everything you own, including cash, vehicles, clothes, jewelry, real estate, investments, savings, retirement accounts and more.

5. Name your beneficiaries

Some of your assets have beneficiaries already designated in the underlying contract, like retirement plans and life insurance policies. We are talking here about other assets that you should list down in your Will if you would like to leave them to a specific person.

6. Execute your Estate Plan

Do not forget to check what the law requires to make your Estate Plan valid, and notably how many witnesses are needed.

7. Notify your executor

It is a good idea to let the person you chose to be your Executor know of your intentions.

8. Store your estate planning documents

Put your Estate Plan in a safe place, yet where your loved ones can easily find it. Storing a soft copy of your Estate Plan documents in liteWill is the way to go to ensure that your family can retrieve them.

9. Update as needed over time

There is no a hard rule about when you should update your Estate Plan, but a good rule of thumb is to update it whenever you have a major life event (birth of a child, death of someone important in your plan, marriage, divorce, etc.). And if you find you haven’t had any life events in recent years, try to review and update every 3 to 5 years.

Writing your Will is the very first step. Equally important is to store your Will online, to ensure that it will be found in a timely manner. liteWill is the only global platform which offers the solution to store your Will online.

‘A Will that is not online is like a Will that does not exist’

This portion of the website is for information only. The statements and opinions are the expression of their author, not of liteWill, and have not been evaluated for accuracy, completeness or changes in the law. Information contained in this article is not a substitute for tax or legal advice.

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