Everyone wants to ensure the financial security and safety of their loved ones. Even a slight mistake can result in great losses and financial crises. Your estate is one of the biggest assets that you might own in your lifetime. Your estate property not only provides financial security to you and your spouse but also to the next generations of your family. If you are one of those property owners who believe estate planning is only limited to rich and wealthy individuals, then you are not alone. 

With proper estate planning, all your assets can be seamlessly transferred to heirs upon your death. Estate Planning Attorneys Peoria IL can help you plan your will and minimize the risk of any third party misusing your property document or will after your death. Doing this will also help you secure your asset or estate during uncertain times and have full control over your property matters. 

If you are looking for ways to learn more about estate planning or ways to find the best estate planning attorneys, we are here to help. In this article, we have covered some vital information that will make things a lot easier and smoother for you and your family. 

So let us begin this article by understanding what estate planning is. 

What is estate planning? 

Estate planning is a legal process of making advance decisions on who will receive your assets (property, financial investments, etc.) after your demise. In this process, you make a plan in advance naming the people or organizations with whom you would like to transfer your assets post death. You can also mention what conditions one should fulfill or certain instructions one should follow.  

To prepare for your estate planning, there are many documents that you should have. These documents include a will that spells out your last wishes, a revocable trust that can avoid the probate process, power of attorney to appoint a person to manage your legal affairs, and more. You must consider seeking help from a professional to provide you with the right guidance throughout the process. 

7-Step Estate Planning Checklist 

Now let us look at the 7-step estate planning checklist to help you with your estate planning process. 

1. Check your assests 

Many people think they don’t have enough stuff for actual estate planning justification and end up making some major mistakes in the estate planning process. Take some time to look around and determine all your tangible and intangible assets. Tangible assets mainly include homes, land, vehicles, collectibles (coins, art, antiques, etc.), and other various possessions. Intangible assets include ownership in business, insurance policies, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and more. 

2. Assess the needs 

Once you have determined your tangible and intangible assets, you can now move ahead to assess your family’s needs. You must ensure to think of certain ways you can protect your assets and your family’s interest post your demise. Ensure you are covered with life insurance. Your life insurance requirement mainly depends on certain factors –  your children, marital status, and current lifestyle. Life insurance becomes essential for a child with additional medical attention or for college tuition fees.

3. Establish legal directives 

An estate plan is incomplete without legal directives. Your estate planning attorney can play a major role in establishing your directives. Crucial legal directives include a revocable trust where you can deposit the portion of your earning while you are alive. In case, you fall sick or become debilitated, you can choose a trustee whio will look after the trust..In the event of death, all the assests will be transfered to the mentioned designated person.. It also includes a medical care directive, a durable financial power of attorney,  a limited power of attorney, and more. 

4, State your beneficiaries 

Your will might not be the only legal requirement that you need to fulfill during the estate planning process. You might also have to review your retirement and insurance accounts. These types of legal documents usually have beneficiary designations that one must check and update on a regular note. At times, such beneficiary designations can become more significant than  the information provided in your will. Ensure to check the name of your beneficiaries once in a while, so that the right people are eligible for your estate.

5. Determine your state’s estate tax laws

Estate tax laws can differ from state to state. As a matter of fact, estate planning can minimize your estate and inheritance taxes. However, most people avoid paying taxes or don’t have sufficient knowledge about the existence of such taxes. Therefore, it is extremely important to determine your state’s estate tax laws. Some states might have estate taxes, while others have inheritance taxes. Both estate and inheritance taxes have a different set of rules and regulations to follow. 

6. Seek professional help 

One of the greatest ways to plan your estate is by seeking help from professionals. An experienced and knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help you determine the best plan for your property and ways you can take maximum advantage of the same. There are many legal factors and requirements to follow during the planning process which can be difficult for a layman to understand. No matter if your estate is small or large, your estate planning attorney can always assist you to make the best decision in your interest. 

7. Reassess your plan

Life is quite unpredictable and everything that you might have today might change tomorrow. Therefore, it is always an ideal decision to revisit your estate plan when situation or mind changes for good. Situations such as marriage, divorce, child birth, getting a new job, or shifting to a new place can further impact your estate planning. Hence, plan to reassess your will every once in a while.

Storing your documents after the completion of the process can help you secure vital information and avoid the third party from taking undue advantage. Store your documents in a place online or offline where you can have 24/7 access for the same.