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A Step-by-Step Checklist for Estate Planning

Do you want to draft a comprehensive estate plan to protect your future and legacy but aren’t sure where to start? Then keep reading to learn which important estate planning tools you need to make sure your property is transferred to the correct beneficiaries and that your final wishes are respected.

Step #1: Create an Inventory of Your Assets

To start your estate plan, create a list of all your assets, especially financial assets such as bank accounts, retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and life insurance policies as well as real estate property, vehicles, collectibles, and other personal possessions.

Step #2: Designate Beneficiaries

Determine who you would want to receive your assets when you pass away. This can be done as percentages for financial assets as well as listing specific tangible assets for a specific person.

Step #3 Who Will Serve You

With a medical power of attorney, you can grant a person you trust the authority to make your health care decisions if you can’t. A durable financial power of attorney allows someone else to manage your financial affairs if you’re medically unable to do so. This legal document names a designated agent who will act on your behalf in legal and financial situations when you are unable to do so.

You also need to decide how many trustees you want to oversee the distribution of your assets. You can select one trustee, two trustees who hold joint-power, or a trustee committee that consists of three or more people.

Guardians for minor children also need to be chosen. You can select a primary guardian and alternate appointments in case the persons you choose cannot fulfill their duties. You should choose different people to serve as guardians and trustees and avoid appointing joint-guardians.

Step #4: Consult with a Lawyer to Establish your Estate Plan

Estate planning requires in-depth knowledge of the law if you want to ensure your best interests are protected and that your loved ones inherit everything they are entitled to. An experienced estate planning lawyer can identify your unique needs and devise a customized strategy that takes into account matters such as probate avoidance, Medicaid, nursing home costs, tax issues, and much more.

If you need advice regarding estate planning and protecting your legacy, then please call (262) 387-0706 today to schedule your case consultation with Kitzke & Canfield LLC.