Step 1: Prepare.
In order to have a proper place to plant, you need to prepare the soil. You cannot just go out and drop a seed on the ground. You have to have enough space that get proper sunlight. You have to get the soil ready for the seed. You need the proper tools. Figure out what you wang to plane and then get everything together.
The same is true with estate planning. You have to think about what is important to you and your family. Start by defining your goals. Think about what you wish to accomplish or fix or avoid. Think about your financial needs after you pass away. Focus on those you want to take care of and support. your current and future income needs as well as those whom you will support. It all starts with preparation.
Step 2: Plan.
Figure out what it is you want to plant. Is it corn? Is it sunflowers? Is it a tree? How long does it take to grow and mature?
Likewise, sit down and think about your assets. Who is getting each asset? When will they receive it? Not only should you list your assets, but you should list your debts or liabilities. Then plan who is going to help you make sure it is all done as you wish after you are gone or if you become unable to make decisions while alive.
Step 3: Plant.
Once you have everything ready and planned out, you are ready to get started planting.
What does planting look like in estate planning? Well, it involves naming names! Choose who us the beneficiary of your various assets (IRA, Life insurance policies, etc.) Some include gifts to individuals as well as charities. Also, you may want to sign a health care proxy and living will (these documents may vary by state) Name an executor, Choose a guardian for your minor children or your children with special needs. Pick a durable financial power of attorney. It’s also a great idea to have an advance healthcare directive (living will).
Step 4: Protect.
You will need to weed your garden. Maybe mulch around your tree. Make sure it’s getting proper water. But mostly you just need to sit back and watch the beauty of your efforts.
Once you have done all the things you need to do and have signed all your documents. all that’s left is to enjoy the peace of mind all your hard work has accomplished. Enjoy!
As always, make sure to talk to you tax or legal specialist for your specific situation.