Most people in California know that they should address the important task of estate planning sooner rather than later, but they may be mystified by the options, or they may believe some of the “myths” about estate planning that are quite common. Whatever the reason for delay, when our readers are ready to start thinking about estate planning, there are a few steps to consider.
A step-by-step approach
As a recent news article noted, one of the first steps in the estate planning process is to think about and list all of your assets. For many people, that likely includes the family home, other real estate, vehicles, valuable personal property, bank accounts and retirement accounts, among other possible assets. In fact, most people probably have more assets than they know. Thinking about these assets, and how you would like them distributed, is a key part of estate planning.
Another step the recent article noted is to think about your family members – the ones who might be beneficiaries in your estate plan – and what those family members need. Should more of a percentage of your estate go to one family member over another? Is there are specific asset you would like to pass on to one particular family member? These questions, among many others, are something to consider in the earliest part of the estate planning process.
Make sure to reassess your estate plan from time to time
Lastly, another important factor about estate planning that was noted in the recent news article is to the need to “reassess.” In essence, once you have an estate plan in place, make sure you keep it updated.