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Gregory S. DuPont Jan. 29, 2021

Estate planning isn’t a new concept. The passing along or distribution of property has been around for as long as people have had property.

However, nothing underscores the importance of having an estate plan like uncertain times. The pandemic has made many individuals rush to either create a new plan or update an existing one. If you are just starting out on your estate planning journey, here are a few things you need to know about starting and managing your plan.

Why do you need an estate plan?

Your estate plan will ensure that you get to decide how your property and assets are distributed after your death. Without a plan, probate laws (depending on your state), could decide how your property is distributed, which could lead to loved ones arguing or other unwelcome surprises.

What’s included in an estate plan?

Most estate plans include:

• Last will and testament: In your will, you name who receives your property, your children’s guardian, and an executor to oversee the probate process.

• Durable power of attorney: A standard durable powers of attorney and health care directives allows you to specify another person to act on your behalf in financial or legal matters.

• Living will: Applies only to end of life care and allows you to specify your desires regarding your medical care if there’s no hope of recovery.

• Trust: A trust can transfer your property without going through probate. It also can control your assets while you’re still living and after your death.

• Beneficiary designations: Assets such as 401(k) plans, life insurance, bank accounts and investment accounts typically allow you to name a beneficiary to receive the funds once you pass away.

How to get started.

You will need to make an inventory of your belongings (real estate, vehicles, savings accounts, personal items, etc.) and consider your family’s needs. It’s usually best to have a financial professional and attorney to help you to establish your plan.

Keep your plan up to date.

Setting up your estate plan is only half of the process. As life happens, your estate plan should evolve with it. It’s a good idea to review your plan at regular intervals, and along with key life events such as marriage or divorce, the birth or adoption of a child or grandchild, the purchase of property, etc. Think of your estate plan as a living document that will grow and change with you.

Should you need advice or have any concerns, DuPont and Blumenstiel, Estate Attorneys, Columbus, Ohio have an experienced team with over 20 years of knowledge that are ready to help you with your estate planning. Call us at (614) 389-9711 or visit today.