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Family Estate Planning: How to Start the Process

Learn how to properly plan your family estate with or without professional assistance.
A family estate planning document.

If you're in your 20s, 30s or 40s, family estate planning may sound too far from reality. However, keep in mind that almost all things in this world are inevitable. Planning for the future is essential and that includes executing a living will, trust and/or powers of attorney. The following are family estate planning basics:

  • Asset protection
  • Living trust or will
  • Life insurance, business and financial planning
  • Medicaid and retirement planning
  • Guardianship of children
  • Sale of real estate

Here's a brief guide on how to start on your own family estate planning.

Asset Inventory

Before coming up with a plan, classify your assets into categories and assign a value for each category. These categories include life insurance, investments, residence and savings. Asset inventory will make it easier for you organize and distribute your assets.

Professional Assistance

Professional assistance is almost always needed when you're writing an estate plan. An estate plan team includes the attorney, trust officers, accountants and underwriters. The attorney will review and evaluate the plan formulated by the accountants, insurance writers and trust officers.

Review your Plan

Your need to review your plan on a regular basis as life, again, is constantly changing. These changes include marriage, childbirth, divorce, death in the family and changes in tax laws. You can ask your attorney to mark a certain date in a year to review your family estate plan.

Writing a family estate plan will not only assure a smooth transition of assets but will definitely give you peace of mind, both financially and emotionally.

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