Planning on Retiring Early? Make Sure You Have a Will and Trust

Having a will and trust is a heavy topic that often only comes up if needed. But writing your will is the most significant part of your estate planning. With it in place, you’ll rest assured that your loved ones are sorted out and protected for when the time comes. If you’ve been thinking in this direction lately but need help figuring out where to start, we’ve got you covered. Members of a popular online platform listed the steps you should follow to get your will and Trust in order:

1. Lay Out Your Assets

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Before anything else, laying out your assets and everything you have is the most logical step. Whether it’s real estate property, personal property, intellectual property, cash in savings, or valuables like heirlooms and collectibles, writing down everything you own is the best way to get started. After that, consider your intention and make it as straightforward as possible. Also, think of any final wishes you may have.

2. Consult an Attorney

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When you have everything noted down, it’s time to contact an attorney. A user shared, “The first step I took to understand my options is consulting an attorney. She brought up many considerations we never would have considered, making the bill well worth it. We could even set specific criteria in the Trust on how the assets would get paid out, such as: if we both die when our son is young, then we want him to attend a financial education program before being handed a whole bunch of assets that he otherwise wouldn’t know what to do with.”

3. Look Into Employment Benefits

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A second user added, “Most large employers have Legal Benefits coverage where Will and Trust are fully covered. You might need to pay for filing fees. Don’t stop at your benefits account; get a comprehensive Estate Plan that includes a Living Trust and much more. Once you get this, you must go one step further and change the beneficiaries on your existing accounts. Named beneficiary directly on financial accounts override any Will or Trust.”

4. Gather Official Documents

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Your attorney will guide you on all relevant documents to complete the process. Starting with birth and death certificates, marriage certificates, property deeds, investment portfolios, bank accounts, and more is quick and easy. You’ll also need relevant information from your bankers, insurance agents, and financial advisors.

5. Choose Your Executors and Beneficiaries

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“Your executor is responsible for setting your estate upon your passing. They should be trustworthy in every sense of the word and capable of handling all obligations required to complete the process. Your beneficiaries, on the other hand, are those who’ll profit from your estate. They will inherit money and belongings per your wishes,” advised an attorney.

6. Nominate Guardians

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Establishing guardianship for your child, parents, and loved ones is another significant piece. You can even include your pets (if any) in guardianship. It’s challenging to think about not being in your loved one’s lives, but protecting them is one of the most important steps you can take.

7. Sign Your Will

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The terms of your Will and Trust need your official signature. Without it, they will be null and void. Two witnesses and a notary are mandatory for sealing the deal. However, signing requirements differ from state to state, so looking into them is essential. For instance, in Arizona, to sign your will, witnesses must be present, but they don’t have to sign immediately. The same goes for California, but witnesses need to sign on their part immediately for the Will and Trust to be valid.

8. Store Your Will

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“Congratulations, you’ve completed the toughest part of it all, writing your will,” someone else commented, “Now, store it well. You need to take absolute care of this document. So, think of a safety box (but share the details with your attorney) or a fireproof box. I store mine in a Legacy Drawer, a box with all my important documents. Only my attorney can access it upon my passing.”

9. Update and Amend Accordingly

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As life happens and situations change, you may need to update your Will and Trust. Review and update your will every five years, making the changes you deem fit. Things like marriage, remarriage, divorce, death, birth of grandchildren, and more can come into play, and change is often needed.

10. Execute

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This is the final step of it all. Execution of your Will and Trust will only happen in your passing. Ensure everything is in order so it’s up to par when unexpected circumstances occur. We know all too well that life comes to an end eventually, and for that, preparation is key.

Source: Reddit.

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