3 Steps and The Basics of Estate Planning

November, 2022

It’s important to have a basic Estate Plan in place regardless of your net worth to ensure that your family and financial goals are taken care of. When putting together a strategy for your Estate Plan, you must be aware of federal and state laws relating to taxes.

Estate planning can be complicated and an attorney is essential to help protect your assets.

STEP 1: Take Inventory

Begin by taking an inventory of your assets. Assets can include:

  • Investments
  • Savings
  • Insurance Policies or Certificates
  • Real Estate
  • Business Entities
  • Personal Property (artwork, vehicles, jewelry, etc.)

STEP 2: Decide Who Inherits What?

Think about and decide:

  • Who will inherit your assets?
  • Who will handle your financial affairs should you become incapacitated?
  • Who will make medical decisions for you should you become unable to make them for yourself?
  • If you have minor children, who will be named guardian?

STEP 3: Discuss Your Plans

Discuss your plans with all of your heirs so that everyone is aware of your intentions. This will lessen confusion and disagreements later.



Dying without a Will can be costly for your heirs and it gives you no say over your asset distribution.

  • A will documents how you want your assets distributed when you die.
  • A will names guardians for your children.

A Simple Will is a will that only distributes personal property and homestead. Homestead refers to the member’s dwelling house and its adjoining land where the family resides. Some examples of when a more complex will is required are when the attorney must consider:

  • Minor children. If members have a minor child, will must include a trust.
  • A specific bequest which is a gift of a specific item of property to a specific individual.
  • A Living Will which gives specific instructions about any aspect of your health care.


A Trust:

  • Allows you to legally define how and when your assets will be distributed.
  • Can reduce your estate and gift taxes.
  • Removes any costs or delays for your heirs; it also eliminates probate court!

Since most Trusts deal only with specific assets, you still need a will to distribute your total assets. There are many different types of trusts that cover a range of needs from trusts setup during a person's lifetime to those established only after a person's death. Your attorney can help identify and setup the trust that best fits your needs.

Living Will / Health Care Proxy

A Living Will is a document that states your wishes regarding life prolonging medical treatments in the event that you become incapacitated and can no longer communicate. A Living Will can also be referred to as an advance directive, health care directive, or a physician's directive.

if you ever unfortunately become incapacitated, different institutions or doctors may come to different conclusions about your condition. You can help ensure your directives are enforced if you have a health-care agent (or proxy) advocating for you. You can designate a Health Care Proxy by assigning a medical power of attorney to someone you trust to make medical decisions for you.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney assigns someone to manage your financial affairs should you become unable to do so.

Your designated agent can legally sign your name.

Most often, people elect a “Durable Power of Attorney” which goes into effect immediately upon you becoming incapacitated.

Group Legal Plans from Legal Club provide a wide range of free and discounted legal care, tax and identity theft benefits including a Free Simple Will for you and your family. Also included is access to over 85,000 online forms such as Last Will and Testament and Power of Attorney forms. To learn more about the plans offered by Legal Club, browse this website or call us at 800-305-6816.

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