Estate Planning

It’s important to take initiative in preparing for your end-of-life process. You may think you have plenty of time to do this, but it’s better to be prepared by creating an estate plan. This is the process of planning who will receive your assets upon your death or if you become incapacitated, who will care for your loved ones, and how will your end of life wishes be carried out. Below are some guidelines to get you started.

Create an inventory of your assets and liabilities

Assets will include bank accounts, investments, life insurance policies, real estate, vehicles, antiques, and any item of value. Liabilities include mortgages, lines of credit, credit cards, personal loans, etc. It’s important to list your account numbers and contact information for any advisors. Keep important, original documents together with the list and provide copies to the executor of your will.

Care for love ones

After creating an inventory, you will need to assess how to provide for and protect your loved ones. Write a will if you don’t already have one to appoint the guardian for your dependents. This also includes planning for any children or relatives with special needs who may need a special needs trust which provides income without affecting government assistance. You can also determine if you need life insurance to protect your dependents. 

Protect Assets

An important factor in estate planning is protecting your assets. You can determine if you will use a trust or will to transfer wealth to your heirs. Speak to your accountant about minimizing your taxes, especially if your estate is significant as federal taxes can range between 18% – 40% on assets over $12.92 million for 2023 and 13.61 for 2024. Assessing if you will need life insurance to protect your assets is also a key determination.


Define what your last wishes will be. This also includes planning in the event you become physically and mentally incapacitated. A living will can provide specific instructions on medical care to the doctors, hospitals, and family members. This lifts the burden of family members having to decide.

A power of attorney (POA) will give an individual the legal right to make decisions for another person, such as an adult child for the parent. You can select one for legal, medical or financial matters. If the person authorizing the POA becomes incapacitated, a POA becomes invalid. However, with a durable POA, the appointed person retains the legal right to make decisions for you.

You can write a letter of intent to add to your will or trust. This serves as an overview of your desires from a logistic and personal matter. For example, you can detail the instructions for your funeral or traditions you wish your family will carry on after your passing.

Mindful Reminder

Death is never an easy topic, especially your own, but it’s important to plan and be prepared. Be conscious of the triggers that rise. Observe your actions and reactions and implement healthy coping skills, such as allowing yourself to work through what you are feeling, but taking breaks as needed. When you feel up to it again, return and allow yourself to process more. In doing so, you will open yourself up to be with the uncomfortableness of death in a loving and nurturing manner.

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