Our readers in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore area might be thinking about accomplishing big new tasks and goals in the new year. Perhaps for some, it is time to finally get their estate plan in order. If you are thinking about taking this important step, what should your estate planning checklist look like?
Your estate planning checklist may look quite different from someone else’s approach to estate planning. Everyone has a different financial and family situation to consider. That said, the beginnings of the process are often the same for most people. It’s the details that make all the difference.
When you begin your plan, you start by considering all of your assets and how best to protect and pass on those assets. What are your total assets? What will those assets look like in years to come? What are your concerns for how those assets might be passed on or used by your heirs and beneficiaries? These questions, among others, are something to think about at the beginning of the estate planning process.
From there, you can begin to decide which estate planning documents and tools are right for you and, then, craft those documents to suit your needs. What happens if you become incapacitated? If you need someone to make financial or healthcare decisions on your behalf? Do you have minor children who may need a guardian? As you work through these questions and many others, the step-by-step approach to estate planning will be a useful guardrail to make sure you cover all of the necessary contingencies.