10 Tips for Successful Estate Planning

10 Tips for Successful Estate PlanningIf you want to have a successful estate planning process, you need to start the work early. Estate planning isn’t just for millionaires and the elderly. Estate planning is for everyone! Here are 10 tips to make the process more seamless and less stressful.

1. Choose Your Team Wisely

You need the right professionals on your side to have a successful estate planning experience. Most people know they need an estate planning attorney, but you may not realize that you could also benefit from a financial advisor and even a tax professional.

2. Create a List of Assets

One of the first things your lawyer will ask for is your net worth. You need to be exact. By making a list of all your assets including everything from jewelry to real estate, you can get an accurate picture of your net worth.

3. Create a List of Debts

The other essential task to determine your net worth is to create a list of all the debts you still owe. The value of your debts should be subtracted from the value of your assets. This will make things easier for you and your lawyer!

4. Match Beneficiaries and Accounts

If you’ve named beneficiaries to certain accounts, the contents of those accounts will go to the named party 100% of the time. It doesn’t matter if you have guidelines in your estate plan stating otherwise. So, it’s vital to make sure everything matches up to avoid confusion.

5. Plan for Digital Assets

In our digital world, most people keep valuable information online that needs to be taken care of after a person passes away. Make sure you have a plan to transfer things like photos, videos, and important information that is stored electronically.

6. Account for Taxes

Don’t forget about federal and state taxes when estate planning. These taxes are typically due within nine months of a death. As you work with your tax professional, make sure you account for helping your family with this responsibility.

10 Tips for Successful Estate Planning7. Convert Retirement Accounts

If your only retirement accounts right now are 401(k)s or traditional IRAs, your loved ones are going to have a big tax bill after you pass away. To avoid this, convert them to Roth accounts.

8. Gift Money Now

Another way to avoid your loved ones dealing with tax liabilities is to gift money to them while you’re still alive. The IRS allows you to gift up to $15,000 a year. So, as long as you remain in that range, the more you give away now, the less taxes they may have to deal with later.

9. Document Parenting Wishes

If you have minor children, don’t stop your estate plan with just naming a guardian. You can document more details on childcare including how you want your children to be raised.

10. Avoid Probate at All Costs

Probate is the worst nightmare for the loved ones of the deceased. However, there are ways you can avoid it. Just make sure you talk to your lawyer about your desire to avoid probate so you can make arrangements accordingly.

Get Started on Your Estate Plan with Dana and Associates

It’s never too soon to start estate planning. For a successful estate planning process in Mesa, Arizona, work with Dana and Associates. Our legal team is standing by to help you! Call (480) 924-4424 to book your free personal family legal session today!