Putting together an estate plan can feel like a hugely overwhelming process, especially if you’ve never thought about it before and don’t know where to start.
While estate planning can be very paperwork-heavy, it doesn’t need to be. When you’re just getting started with estate planning, the following three documents are some of the most essential to concentrate on:
1. You need to have a will
This is probably the most essential part of estate planning and is a good place to begin. The purpose of a will is to make sure that you have something in writing which says what should happen to your property after you pass away.
While it is possible to draft a will yourself, it’s always a good idea to have some legal help – especially if you have significant assets or your family dynamic is particularly complicated. Making sure you have a well-written will in place can help to avoid confusion or conflict later down the line.
2. Make your title and property deeds accessible
It’s important to keep this information somewhere that can be easily found by the person(s) responsible for administering your estate.
If you’re keeping them in a safe, make sure someone knows the code and can access it when they need to. You can also keep any passwords to online accounts alongside these documents too so that these can be closed where needed.
3. Make your funeral plans clear
No one wants to think about planning their funeral. The benefit, however, is that it can take away a burden on your loved ones after you die. Even if you don’t pre-plan you can give them some instructions as to what you want to happen. If you have already planned and paid for your funeral, you should have these documents available so your loved ones know what to do and who to contact.
If you are ready to start the estate planning process or find that you need some guidance with legal documents, it’s a good idea to seek some assistance from someone who knows the forms well and can help.