One reason why people procrastinate estate planning is because they think that the process is going to be overwhelming. Maybe they think they’ll have to answer dozens of questions or provide documentation spanning the last four decades. They just don’t want to address this because it all sounds too complex, like there is too much paperwork and too many steps to take.
But the reality is that estate planning doesn’t actually have to be this overwhelming. Yes, some documentation is needed, and you do have to answer questions and fill out paperwork, but it doesn’t have to be as extensive as you may think. After all, it is mostly focused on what you own at the moment and what goals you have for the future.
6 key steps
To show how relatively simple this process can be, here are six steps that most people need to take when getting started with their estate plan:
- Create an inventory of all assets, both financial and tangible
- Consider what various family members may need or expect
- Set up directives to distribute assets
- Assign specific beneficiaries
- Plan for future tax implications
- Set up a schedule to review and potentially update the estate plan as needed
With an inventory and a list of beneficiaries, you can already get started with a very basic will. Things can get more complex if you want to use other estate planning tools, such as putting assets in a trust or using a medical power of attorney. But you can start the process without too much effort and continue to build the plan out as you look into all of the legal options that you have at your disposal.