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Elements to include in an estate plan

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Planning for the future is a crucial step in ensuring that your loved ones remain taken care of after your death. In North Dakota, creating a comprehensive estate plan can provide peace of mind and a smooth transition of your assets.

Taking the time now to make tough decisions can save your family further heartache after you pass away.

Write a will

CNBC reports that up to 67% of Americans do not have an estate plan, which can cause problems for those left behind. At the very least, you should create a will, a legal document that outlines your wishes and governs the distribution of your property and assets after your death. Without a will, the state’s laws dictate how a judge divides things, which may not align with your intentions.

Consider a healthcare directive

Also known as a living will, a healthcare directive memorializes your preferences for medical treatment if you cannot make decisions due to illness or injury that leave you mentally or physically incapacitated. This document can include instructions about life-sustaining treatments, organ donations and nominates a person to finalize choices on your behalf.

Designate guardians

If you have children, it is vital to designate a guardian who will care for them if you die before they reach 18. This ensures their well-being and prevents legal disputes.

Inventory assets and debts

Compile a detailed list of your assets, including bank accounts, real estate, investments, debts and personal property. An inventory will help ensure your estate clears probate without drawing out the process.

Include funeral instructions

Although not legally binding, including your preferences for your funeral and burial arrangements can alleviate stress for your loved ones during an emotional time. Keep these instructions separate from the will so family members can find them sooner.

Life circumstances change over time, so plan to revisit and modify your estate plan periodically. Taking the time to create and update an estate plan ensures that you can help prevent potential conflicts and legal complications, providing your family with a smoother transition during a challenging time.