While you may think that you’re not rich or old enough to need an estate and financial planning checklist, the hard truth is that you do. The earlier, the better. Undoubtedly, having your affairs in order before you pass will be one less thing your loved ones have to worry about.  This is definitely one conversation worth having.

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Moreover, estate planning is more than deciding who gets what when you die. Any asset that you intend to transfer to someone else after your death requires estate planning for surety. Consider this estate and financial planning checklist as a guide to get started.

[Related: Hiring a Financial Advisor if You Aren’t Rich]

1. Create a Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney allows your designee to make important decisions regarding your assets. If you are incapacitated, the designated person can manage your assets and make decisions in your best interest. For example, you may need to liquidate assets to cover an emergency. These assets include stocks and the person holding the power of attorney could liquidate these for pressing bills. Unfortunately, this cannot be done after you’ve fallen unconscious. So it’s prudent to plan early. Besides the estate and financial planning checklist, you should also have a checklist of the location of your important documents.

2. Keep Your Beneficiaries Updated

Generally, once IRAs or 401(k)s are set up, the beneficiaries aren’t updated as life evolves. Make sure that all assets with beneficiaries are changed when circumstances change. In other words, it’s a good idea to go over beneficiaries for individual assets annually or upon significant changes.

[Related: Retirement: How Much Money Do I Really Need?]

3. Consider Setting Up a Living Trust

When you set up a living trust, you can effectively avoid your assets passing through probate court. Probate court is often a protracted and expensive experience. Furthermore, a judge will make the final determination as to how your assets are handled. A living trust allows the transfer of your assets to be managed according to your wishes in the event of your death.

4. Personal Details with Financial Implications

Remember that part of estate planning involves who takes care of your children and who manages your financial responsibilities. Additionally, you need to consider who will have access to your digital information—passwords, files, and documents.

Many of these steps may seem drastic at the moment, but consider the peace of mind you will be providing for your loved ones. Knowing that they won’t be financially devastated by your untimely passing is priceless.

[Related: Best Sources of Investment Help]

Get Help with the Estate and Financial Planning Checklist

We hope that our estate and financial planning checklist has helped you understand how to get started. If you are considering estate and financial planning for the first time, reach out to the experienced team at Blisk Financial Group for help.

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