Life is unpredictable, which is why it is best to be prepared for the worst. Regardless of your financial standing, age, or health, you must have your affairs in order to ensure the correct distribution of your estate after you pass away.
Your beneficiaries may not appreciate how state law distributes your estate, if you do not have your affairs in order with an updated last will and testament in Chico, CA. While consulting professional Estate Planning & Probate Attorneys in Chico is your best option, we have come up with a simple estate planning checklist for you to go through.
Getting Your Affairs in Order: Estate Planning Checklist
Here is a checklist you need to tick off to ensure your estate planning affairs are in order.
1. Create an Inventory
You must take inventory of all the assets and land in your ownership, including those that you own partially. Account for all the real property, vehicles, jewelry, valuables, antiques, financial accounts, credit cards, mortgages, insurance policies, stocks, etc. and make an inventory.
2. Sort through Documents
You need to organize all important documents, including proof of identity documents (birth, marriage, divorce certificates, social security, prenups, settlements, etc.), titles and property deeds, insurance policies, financial documents (tax, loans, mortgages, accounts, investments, etc.), and digital accounts’ credentials.
Create a sheet providing information on how to access these documents after your passing. This will make it easier for your executor to sort, manage, and distribute your estate later.
3. Make Your Last Will & Testament
Consult a wills and trusts attorney in Chico, CA about creating your last will and testament. It should name a trusted executor, all beneficiaries, guardians for minor children and pets, and clearly define land and asset distribution, even in case of unforeseen events such as your spouse passing away with you.
4. Consider a Revocable Living Trust
A revocable living trust is similar to a will, but requires more upkeep. This trust “owns” your estate while you are still alive, but you will still have full control over everything. When you pass away, the trust distributes your estate as per your wishes, without the need for probate.
5. Choose Medical & Financial Power of Attorney (POA)
You can opt for an Advanced Healthcare Directive (AHCD), that allows you to outline decisions pertaining to your medical care, in case you are unable to make them. A living trust also outlines the same.
You can also opt for a medical power of attorney (POA), and choose someone to take medical decisions for you if you are unable or incapacitated. Similarly, a financial POA allows you to choose someone to have legal authority to manage your finances and estate when you cannot do it yourself.
6. Funeral Instructions
Let your loved ones and executor/ trust know about your funeral arrangements and how you want to be buried. You can also communicate any other wishes you have. Although funeral instructions are not strictly a legal document like your will, it is best to let relevant people know what you want.
Get Professional Help
Perhaps the simplest way to get your affairs in order and pace through our estate planning checklist is to hire professionals. They can help ensure the efficient and convenient planning and distribution of your estate.
We highly recommend calling The Law Offices of Ron Marquez for a consultation, and get started by talking to their Last Will and Testament Lawyers in Chico, CA today!