It can be difficult for Illinois residents to know what goes into creating an estate plan. This process can become even more complex when considering elements like joint and separate bank accounts, large families, and properties.
Thankfully, there are a few basic steps that every resident can take to start their estate plan. Estate plans might look different based on circumstances, but generally, you can follow these steps to get started.
Make sure you know what’s in your estate
The first step to estate planning is figuring out what you own. Generally, your estate will include things like real estate property, collections, and vehicles.
However, your estate plan also dictates what happens to bank accounts, life insurance policies, and businesses. If you have any investment accounts – such as 401(k) or stocks – you will want to include these in your estate plan as well.
You should go through and make sure most of your estate is accounted for in your will or trust. Forgotten assets that aren’t addressed may have to go through a lengthy court proceeding.
Plan for what happens after you’re gone
Your estate plan exists primarily to help your family after you’ve passed away. That’s why your estate plan should answer questions for your family immediately after your death, such as:
– Guardians for minor children
– Funeral arrangements
Your estate plan can also include trusts that help your family financially prepare for life after you’re gone. Things like college funds, health care, and other living expenses for your beneficiaries can be planned into your estate plan.
Prepare to update the plan
It’s important to update your estate plan as needed to account for changes to your family and financial situation. Regularly reviewing your estate plan might seem like a lot of work. But setting it up correctly the first time can make that process easier.