If you are just starting the estate planning process, understanding the necessary steps to finish a complete plan that takes care of everyone who depends on you can be difficult. The process is complex, and making sure your final wishes are clear and that you have set up the financial structures your family needs to be secure often means turning to legal help. This is because an attorney is your best resource for checking each document to ensure it is sound and that all the important elements of your estate plan are in place.
The will as a foundation
Modern estate planning often involves multiple documents and legal or financial structures to complete. This can include trusts, living wills, and a variety of other documents and designations. In most cases, though, the basic will is still the foundation of the rest of the plan, which makes having a complete will very important. Every will needs to have a few core elements to be complete:
- A statement designating your executor
- Instructions for the executor about the disposition of your assets
- A list of your heirs and the assets each will receive
- A list of those who have been disinherited for whatever reason
Those are not the only elements you might need, though. They are simply the core elements everyone needs to consider. Other items you might need to complete a will include:
- Statements about the disposition of your body or your funeral wishes
- Naming a guardian for any minor children in the family
- Providing for the care of your pets by designating their rehoming
Understanding how to put your will together
There are a variety of laws that complicate this simple checklist and make working with an attorney a great idea. For example, one complication that many people do not realize they face is the way the law treats marital property, by treating it totally separately from the will. There are other considerations you need to make, too, which is why most experts recommend working with an estate planning attorney who understands Georgia’s probate law.
Starting the planning process is easy, and it just takes an initial consultation. After that, you will have a much clearer idea about what you will need to do to finish your estate planning in a way that takes care of every important person in your life. The first step is the will, and from there it is just a matter of making sure you complete the plan your attorney helps you decide on. Once it is in place, regular updates are relatively simple unless they involve major changes, so get started today.