The Steps You Should Take When Considering Estate Planning

The Steps You Should Take When Considering Estate Planning


Planning for what happens after you die can be an intimidating task. No one wants to think about what happens after they’re gone, but the longer you go without writing out your will, the more difficult it becomes for your surviving family to sort it out. Having a concrete plan for your estate can help make life easier for those you leave behind, but you don’t want to develop one haphazardly. 

When you consult a financial firm for wealth management in Tacoma, WA, to help with writing your will, you want to find a team with experience helping people like you develop a plan that lays out your last wishes. Here are some of the steps you should take when considering estate planning. 

It’s More Than Writing a Will

When you begin your estate planning journey, you’ll quickly realize that more goes into it than simply writing out your last will. It entails having an accurate account of all your material assets and ensuring a smooth ownership transition after your passing. A crucial component of your estate planning involves ensuring that your beneficiaries know about it and understand how you want your wishes carried out. A financial planner can also help with cash flow projections to help you determine a rough estimate for the amount of assets you may have left over in the end.

Itemize Your Inventory

Every estate planning process starts with this step — getting an accurate count of your assets. Start with the most valuable items in your home — including your property. With things like your TV, jewelry, collectibles, art, and more, your list will probably look much longer than you initially anticipated. 

Check the Non-Physical Assets

Your estate consists of more than just the physical possessions you have acquired over time. Things you own through a paper trail, bank accounts, 401ks, life insurance policies, and more, can also have beneficiaries attached to them that pay out as the result of your death. Maintain an updated contact list of people with access to these accounts to help keep an accurate record for your estate planner.

Compile Your List of Debts

While having a list of your worldly possessions remains one of the most important parts of your estate plan, keeping track of your outstanding debts should also be a high priority. After you are gone, it falls on your beneficiaries to cover whatever outstanding debts you may have accrued. Having an updated list of these debts will help ensure that they won’t encounter any unexpected surprises when a particular debt comes due. 

Maintain a Membership List

Over time, you may have joined a variety of clubs and organizations that spoke to your philanthropic side, your past, or a cause close to your heart. With organizations like AARP, the American Legion, assorted veterans organizations, or other alumni groups, some may have monetary benefits that can go to your family after your passing. 

Additionally, include charitable organizations that you support in the list. You can have a portion of your estate go as a donation to these organizations as the last gift in your memory. 

Make Copies of Your Lists

It happens to the best of us. We put something in a seemingly safe place that we’ll remember but then forget to tell anyone where that place is, and it gets lost. Instead of letting these important lists get lost to time, make plenty of copies to give to your attorney, estate planner, and any loved ones you trust.

Update Your Accounts

Whether it’s your retirement, life insurance, or annuities, the balances of these accounts pass directly to your declared beneficiaries upon your passing. If certain life changes or events have caused you to reconsider or redistribute the funds, you should update these accounts to reflect your current wishes. 

Find Estate Planners in Tacoma, WA, That You Can Trust

No matter where you are on your estate planning journey, you want to have someone in your corner that will help you navigate the complexities of this process. With family members potentially vying for a better cut of the estate, you want a wealth manager who can help you navigate the estate planning process and connect you with an attorney who puts the right plan into motion. Stolz & Associates, P.S., is here to help however we can.

Our experienced wealth managers are familiar with high-net-worth estate planning and have helped countless people like you plan for life after they’re gone and ensure their personal finances and beneficiaries are in the best position to make the transition process easier. Contact our team to learn more about how we can help make your estate and retirement planning experience a smooth process.