As the well-known adage goes, there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. Not only is it vital that you have a plan in place in the unlikely event of your unexpected death, but you must also implement your plan and make sure others know about it and understand your wishes. According to the American Bar Association, statistical studies show that 55% of Americans die without a will or any estate planning place. A scary thought indeed. Resist the urge to tempt fate and start planning your estate today so you can rest easy knowing your wishes and loved ones are taken care of in your absence.
Your Estate Planning Checklist
- To start things out, go through the inside and outside of your home and make an inventory of all items worth significant value. Examples of this include electronics and jewelry.
- Start adding up your non-physical assets. These include items you own on paper or other entitlements that are predicated on your death. Example Items listed here would include 401k plans, bank accounts, and life insurance policies.
- Assemble your credit cards and debts list. This list should include everything such as auto loans, existing mortgages, home equity lines of credit, open credit cards with and without balances, and any other debts you might owe.
Importance of a Will
When it comes to estate planning, everyone over the age of 18 should have a will. It is the guide for the distribution of your assets, and it could prevent havoc among your heirs. Wills are inexpensive estate planning documents to draft; most attorneys can help you with this for less than $1,000. If that’s too rich for your blood, there are several excellent will-making software packages available online for home computer use. Make sure that you always sign and date your will before having two witnesses sign it. Then, obtain a notarization on the final draft. Once your will is finalized, signed, witnessed, and notarized, you’ll want to make sure that your estate administrator gets a copy. You should also keep a copy in a safe-deposit box and a safe place at home.
Get Representation from The Carlberg Law Firm Today
Ready to tackle your legal issues head on? The Carlberg Law Firm provides all the experience and knowledge of a larger firm with the personal attention and commitment of a smaller firm. We represent individuals from both the District of Columbia and Virginia, and our attorneys have extensive experience in all aspects of family law. Our offices are located in a beautiful 1875 historic building in Old Town Alexandria at 413 North Washington Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314. Please contact us to set up an appointment at (703) 549 5551 or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.