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Organize Your Assets Before Tackling Estate Planning

January 27, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 11:39 am

If you’re like most people, you’ve got a long list of things you want to accomplish in 2020. Some of these are ongoing tasks and others involve sitting down and knocking out one big project. If estate planning and writing your will fall somewhere on your list, one of the most important things you can do to create forward moment on that is to organize your assets first.

When your assets are easily laid out so you know what you’re working with, you’re in a better position to speak to your estate planning lawyer about how to use wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other estate planning documents to protect your interests. It’s too difficult to ensure your plan lines up with your needs if you don’t know what you’re working with when you start.

Since most people won’t trigger the federal estate tax, they tend to underestimate their assets. Pull all of your most recent statements together for your money markets, banks, brokerage accounts, stocks, IRAs, life insurance, bonds, and annuities.

Don’t forget about all those assets that fall outside the umbrella of accounts. What about your firearms? Your personal collection of art? Vehicles titled under your name? Real property including your home and any other properties beyond it? Business interests? Some of these assets require more complex estate planning and you can’t afford to overlook them.

Once you have an idea of the big picture, your estate planning attorney might recommend specific tools or strategies depending on what you want to do with the property. Do you intend to pass it on to someone in your family? Make sure it’s of the highest value when you pass it on to charity?

No matter what your goals are, it all begins with knowing exactly what falls inside your estate. If you need help crafting this list, consider setting up a meeting with an estate planning lawyer today.

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