As we get older, we need to think more about our document storage. This article…
Making an estate plan might seem like something you don’t need to worry about but having one should actually be an important part of your end of life planning. This article will walk you through creating your estate plan and making sure you store it securely.
What Is an Estate Plan?
Although you might not realize it, you have an estate. Your property, financial assets, valuable possessions, bank accounts, investment accounts, and life insurance are all part of your estate. An estate plan clearly details whom you want to inherit which assets so that, when the time comes, your loved ones know what to do.
If you don’t leave an estate plan behind for your loved ones, you risk causing them quite a bit of stress and confusion. You will have died “intestate,” which means your property would end up being turned over to probate court. The court would then decide who should inherit it and how your assets should be distributed based on the probate laws of your state.
It can be time-consuming and emotionally draining for your family to go through the process of probate court. It’s also expensive. Your assets will have to cover the legal and court fees, meaning your loved ones will only receive what is left.
Even worse, your loved ones will have to deal with the uncertainty about what you would have wanted. They might disagree about how to handle some of your possessions or who you might have wanted to inherit a particular asset. You don’t want them to have to suffer any more.
An easy way to avoid causing your loved ones so much unnecessary stress and uncertainty is to leave them an estate plan. Planning your estate is a good way to make sure your belongings end up in the right hands.
How to Get Started on Your Estate Plan
There are several key aspects of estate planning you should be aware of before you make your own. Here are some things to keep in mind when you get started:
Write a will
Making your last will and testament should be your top priority when you set out to make your estate plan. Since your will is a legal document, you’ll want to be clear and thorough about your final wishes. Leaving a will helps your family avoid costly legal proceedings and gives them the comfort of knowing that they’re carrying out your final wishes the way you would have wanted.
Here is where you should include all your wishes regarding your property, assets, possessions, and account funds. Having a will makes sure your final wishes can be arranged.
Consider creating a trust fund
A trust fund is a legal document where you agree to transfer your assets to trustees who will hold them and distribute them after your death to the beneficiaries you’ve chosen. It might sound fancy, but it can be an especially effective part of your estate plan if you have assets or funds you are willing to set aside for specific beneficiaries.
One of the biggest benefits of establishing a trust is protecting your funds from estate taxes and court fees. The beneficiaries of your trust will be indicated ahead of time, so your loved ones won’t have to go through the hassle of probate court for assets to be distributed. You’ll also help them avoid costly estate taxes by agreeing to create a trust.
This can be a great way to make sure your funds and assets make it smoothly to the people or organizations you’d like to have them.
Make arrangements for your digital estate
As technology continues to become more and more a part of our lives, we’ve begun to gather a wide variety of digital assets. These can include personal photos, videos, saved digital files, social media accounts, online shopping accounts, email accounts, personal websites or blogs, and any electronic devices you may own.
Each of these comes with unique passwords and log-in credentials. Planning for your digital estate means leaving behind a comprehensive list. Your account passwords and final wishes for your digital assets and devices will be needed. You’ll have to make important decisions about whether you want your accounts closed or passed down to someone.
Having a clear plan for your digital estate will make sure your digital accounts are handled the way you want, and your assets end up with the people you choose. Make sure to have your log-in information readily available so your loved ones can access all of it.
Designate your power of attorney
You need to choose both a financial and a healthcare power of attorney. Your financial power of attorney is the person you trust to manage and settle your financial affairs after your death. Your healthcare power of attorney will take care of your medical decisions if you are incapacitated.
Choosing a power of attorney is a big decision. Many people choose a spouse, child, sibling, or trusted friend. Be sure to talk with them to make sure they’re willing to accept the responsibility and know your final wishes. They could end up making some major decisions on your behalf.
Include your power of attorney selections in your estate plan so that you have an official record.
Storing Your Estate Plan with My Family Documents
Drawing up your estate plan is essential. Make sure you and your loved ones are prepared for when the time comes. But that’s not enough. The next step is figuring out the best way to store it.
Your estate plan contains sensitive information, so you want to make sure you keep it somewhere safe. Keeping your important documents safe also means you need to keep them organized. These are the critical documents your loved ones will need to access after you die. These will be needed to manage affairs and settle accounts. Where you store them matters.
Luckily, My Family Documents offers a convenient document storage device that is specially designed to organize and securely store your end of life information.
Your estate plan will include a variety of documents that your loved ones will need to access after your death. These can include your will, trust fund details, financial statements, insurance policies, credit card or bank information, and investment portfolios, among others. My Family Documents can make sure all of these documents are carefully stored.
All of your information is encrypted and stored on a physical USB flash drive. This means it’s secure and only accessible to the people you tell about it. You’re always in control of your information.
The flash drive comes pre-programmed with organizational software, which means you can easily sort through your documents and access the ones you or your loved ones need. With My Family Documents, you can be sure your information is organized and easy to use.
Making your estate plan is an important first step to protecting your loved ones from unnecessary stress and hassle. But safely storing it is the other half of the battle. My Family Documents can help you make sure you and your loved ones are prepared for when the time comes.