When you think about planning your estate, you probably think mainly about your end-of-life wishes. Given that an estate plan does encompass the legacy you wish to leave behind, this train of thought makes sense.
However, it may interest you to know that you will need some assistance in executing your plan the way you intend. Thinking about who to involve in your plan can give you peace of mind that your end-of-life wishes will receive the attention you want them to.
Beneficiaries and family
Perhaps the most obvious participants in your estate plan will be your beneficiaries. These are the people who will benefit from whatever assets you leave behind. Depending on your lifestyle and relationships, the people you name as beneficiaries could include any of the following:
- Children and grandchildren
- Charities that you support
- Scholarship funds
- Surviving spouse and family
You may also consider involving your family as you begin your planning. Informing them of your intentions may provide clarity and understanding which can minimize estate disputes later on.
Executor and power of attorney
An executor plays a crucial role in your plan. This individual will oversee the closure of your estate. This may include a number of responsibilities like obtaining a death certificate, satisfying outstanding tax debts, distributing assets to beneficiaries and selling real estate on your behalf. According to CNBC, a good executor will have scheduling flexibility, financial stability and organizational skills.
You will also want to name someone to act as your power of attorney. This person, someone you trust, will make important financial decisions on your behalf if you reach a point of incapacitation. you may also consider naming a health care proxy who can take on a similar role in helping you make health-related decisions as you age.
Establishing an estate plan and fine-tuning it will take time. An attorney can help you verify the legitimacy of your plan to preserve its function over time.