Starting to Plan
1. Important People and Organizations in Your Life
Give some thought to the people you might include in your planning in roles such as medical or financial decision-makers. Where would you like your assets to go on your passing? Consider backup people if your first-choice person was unavailable.
Family and Friends: Who are your loved ones? This includes spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, and other relatives or friends. Are there other people in your life that you would like to make sure are taken care of or thought of?
Pets: Don’t forget about your pets. For many, pets are like family. Because pets are dependent on you for their care, it is important to make a plan for pets too.
Organizations: Are you involved in any churches, charitable organizations, special causes, or schools (colleges or universities)? You can make a gift upon your passing to a group or cause you are committed. Even a small gift can have a great impact.
You don’t need to have exact values of your assets, but an estimate of their value is helpful. Make a list of the assets you own by yourself, jointly with others, through a trust or some other arrangement. Do you own the following:
- Real Estate
- Life Insurance (death benefit)
- Business Interests
- Retirement Accounts
- Personal Property
- Expected Inheritance
3. Your Road Map
The final step as your start to plan is thinking through your incapacity or death. Who do you imagine stepping up or stepping in to help at that time? Is there anyone you want to prevent from being involved?
Incapacity: If you are incapacitated and unable to take care of your day to day activities, who would you like in charge of the following:
Care for Your Minor Children
Ability to Talk to Your Doctors
Care For Your Pets
Death: Upon your passing, how would you like your plan to take care of the following:
- Funeral Arrangements
- Provide Asset Protection
- Avoid Probate
- Supporting Loved Ones Battling Addiction
- Distribute your Assets
- Charitable Gifts
- Minimize Estate Taxes
- Protecting Children