When you start in on your estate plan, it may feel like an overwhelming step to take at first. This is especially true if you have done nothing like it before and have no previous experience with matters of the estate.
Before you dive in, you will want to do your research so you can have a smooth step-by-step progression through the process. You can start with understanding what you need for your estate plan, first and foremost.
What are the building blocks of an estate plan?
U.S. News discusses some of the things anyone needs for estate planning no matter their age. This includes:
- A living will
- Health care proxy
- Beneficiary designations that you keep updated
- A durable power of attorney
- A guardian if you have children
- A will
- A plan for long-term care
- A trust for control
Crucial components to focus on
First, your living will differ from your will. A living will allows you to specify your end-of-life treatment and plans, such as stating if you want to have intubation or wish for life-sustaining treatment. Your health care proxy will take care of these matters, along with making any other health care decisions on your behalf if you end up incapacitated and can no longer do so for yourself.
A will, on the other hand, determines who gets what property or assets that do not have a designated beneficiary. Speaking of, “beneficiary” is a simple term that applies to anyone who stands to receive a benefit from your estate after your death. This can include relatives in your will or even a spouse on your life insurance plan.
Of course, it is often overwhelming to deal with so many important matters at once. This is why you may want to speak with an attorney first and try to work out what to prioritize and where to start first.