Create an estate plan and will

Plan for the Future

Talk to an estate planning attorney about how best approach estate planning.

When someone dies, their estate needs to be settled. This can be a challenging process because it involves legal, financial, and tax matters. For this reason, it is often helpful to hire an estate attorney to assist with creating an estate plan.

It’s best to choose an attorney who practices estate law. This attorney should be licensed in the state where the plan creator lives because they will need to be familiar with local laws and procedures.

An estate plan is a series of legal documents that ensures the wishes of the deceased are followed after death.

These obligations include, but are not limited to:

  • Who can speak and make decisions for the deceased in their absence
  • Who are considered Beneficiaries
  • Who should receive your Assets
  • Typically, these types of documents are created by people who are nearing end-of-life, but it's best that all adults, even young adults create them in order to relieve the burden of decision making on others in case something should happen.

The following documents typically which make up an Estate Plan:

  • Last Will and Testament or Trust
  • Designates to whom your Assets will be left (goods, property, etc)
  • Typically these are children, grandchildren, or other family members, but can also be organizations like charities
  • Designates a guardian to care for children (if applicable)
  • Appoints a person to manage the settling the Estate, known as an Executor
  • Like a Will, a Trust also designates Assets to Beneficiaries; however, there are many different types of Trusts with many different types of governing rules so speak with an Estate Attorney to identify what is best for your situation

Beneficiary Designations

  • Many Assets are transferred to Beneficiaries through a Last Will & Testament, but others can be transferred outside of a Will
  • These include, but are not limited to bank, brokerage or retirement accounts
  • This document lists all possible Transfer-On-Death accounts to more easily manage each transfer after a death

Power of Attorney

  • Names individuals who act or speak on your behalf if you're unable to do so yourself
  • This person can manage all aspects of end-of-life decisions, or be designated for specific areas such as healthcare or finances
  • They are also known as a Durable Power of Attorney

Letter of Intent Items could include wishes for Asset dissemination, Funeral arrangements or any other special requests of the surviving family

Personal Considerations


Do you have debts?


Talk to an attorney about how best to plan ahead to support your loved ones after you pass away and to ensure that any debts will be covered.


Continue to review other estate planning options.


If you have debts:

Talk to an attorney about how best to plan ahead to support your loved ones after you pass away and to ensure that any debts will be covered.

If you do not have debts:

Continue to review other estate planning options.


Do you have a mortgage?


Talk to an attorney about the best way to plan for what happens to your property if you pass away.

A transfer on death deed is one of the easiest ways to transfer real estate property to a spouse or other family member. This passes the asset outside of probate so the beneficiary can receive that asset immediately. Contact an estate planning attorney for the creation of a transfer on death deed form.

Furthermore, if your spouse is listed on the deed, this is one way to ensure they can take over the mortgage and own the property.

Typically, purchasing life insurance is one way to provide for mortgage funds for a loved one who will continue to live in a home after someone passes away.


Continue to review other estate planning options.


If you have a mortgage:

Talk to an attorney about the best way to plan for what happens to your property if you pass away.

A transfer on death deed is one of the easiest ways to transfer real estate property to a spouse or other family member. This passes the asset outside of probate so the beneficiary can receive that asset immediately. Contact an estate planning attorney for the creation of a transfer on death deed form.

Furthermore, if your spouse is listed on the deed, this is one way to ensure they can take over the mortgage and own the property.

Typically, purchasing life insurance is one way to provide for mortgage funds for a loved one who will continue to live in a home after someone passes away.

If you do not have a mortgage:

Continue to review other estate planning options.


Do you have specific wishes for your final disposition?


Document these and discuss them with relevant family members.

Prepay for your final disposition services such as cremation or burial.

Store those documents and discuss them with family members so they know who to contact when you pass away.


Investigate available options and costs. Prepaying for these services can make things easier for your loved ones after you pass away.

If you do not have a specific preference, choose an option that is accessible to them (nearby or pre-arranged) and affordable for you.


If you have specific wishes for your final disposition:

Document these and discuss them with relevant family members.

Prepay for your final disposition services such as cremation or burial.

Store those documents and discuss them with family members so they know who to contact when you pass away.

If you do not have specific wishes for your final disposition:

Investigate available options and costs. Prepaying for these services can make things easier for your loved ones after you pass away.

If you do not have a specific preference, choose an option that is accessible to them (nearby or pre-arranged) and affordable for you.


Do you wish to be memorialized at a funeral home or in a specific manner?


Consider prepaying for that service and leaving clear instructions for your executor and loved ones to review once you pass away.

You can also discuss these plans with your loved ones now.


Ask your loved ones if they have specific services or ideas in mind.


f you want to be memorialized in a specific way:

Consider prepaying for that service and leaving clear instructions for your executor and loved ones to review once you pass away.

You can also discuss these plans with your loved ones now.

If you do not want to be memorialized in a specific way:

Ask your loved ones if they have specific services or ideas in mind.


Have you prepaid for any funeral/final disposition services?


Make sure it is documented and your successors are aware or will be made aware easily.

Leave behind any instructions if your loved ones will have a selection of certain items to choose from so they can review this if you pass away.


Consider locking in the price of a funeral or memorial in advance.

Not only does this save money, but it can help your loved ones plan your funeral or memorial service in a timely manner.


If you have prepaid:

Make sure it is documented and your successors are aware or will be made aware easily.

Leave behind any instructions if your loved ones will have a selection of certain items to choose from so they can review this if you pass away.

If you have not prepaid:

Consider locking in the price of a funeral or memorial in advance.

Not only does this save money, but it can help your loved ones plan your funeral or memorial service in a timely manner.

Providers to Contact


Estate Attorneys Near You

Estate planning attorneys help you plan for the transfer of your assets after death. They can help you get your estate organized and ensure your loved ones are provided for the way you want.

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Plan for the Future