If preparing an estate plan was easy, everyone would have one. If you are reading this and haven’t put an estate plan together, you are with the majority. In a recent survey it was found that almost 2 out of 3 people do not have a will. Part of what makes estate planning difficult, is that there are a lot of mental hurdles to get over. That is why this post is a great first step in your estate planning checklist.
Here are five mindsets that are important to putting together an estate plan:
There is No Such Thing as “The Perfect Estate Plan”
Putting together an estate plan might feel impossible because it is like throwing a dart at a moving target. There are a lot of moving pieces about the end of our lives. Because it feels impossible to be perfect, it feels like the only option is to do nothing.
Something is better than nothing. In fact, something is much better than nothing. You will not get everything 100% correct, but getting things 80 or 85% right is worth celebrating. So, come to peace with the fact that it may not be perfect, but checking off the boxes on an estate planning checklist has immense value.
A Good Estate Plan Doesn’t Have to be Complicated
In estate planning, there are a lot of legal terms that come into play. That alone can make the estate planning process feel overwhelming. For those of us without a lot of wealth, estate planning can be simple. Estate planning is simply the process of distributing the assets that we have at our death to others.
Through titling property appropriately, adding beneficiaries to policies, and having a couple of specific documents (a will and a power of attorney), it’s likely you can accomplish most of your estate planning goals (i.e. avoid as much tax as possible, distribute assets without creating strife, etc.).
A Good Estate Plan Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank
I mentioned legal terms and legal documents in the last section. That may have you seeing dollar signs. However, most things on an estate planning checklist can be done for free – like updating beneficiary information.
Did you know that the majority of individuals have their mother listed as the beneficiary on their retirement accounts? This is because when we start our working career and start using our employer sponsored retirement account we list our mother as the beneficiary. We never change it as life happens. I shouldn’t say we, because my mom Dr. Thia isn’t listed on mine (sorry mom, but not really sorry!). I digressed a bit.
The point is that changing beneficiary information on policies is free. Contact your policy carrier (on life insurance or your investment accounts – including retirement plans). They’ll either have you complete a form or submit something online, and your beneficiary information will be updated at no cost to you. This is part of your estate planning process done for free!
Additionally, there are services that provide wills and powers of attorney for free. While these sites are free MPower Co certainly would recommend that you have an attorney review them. But preparing them yourself and simply having someone review them should cost a nominal amount. If not, look for a different attorney!
A Good Estate Plan is the Last, and Perhaps Most Loving, Gift I can Leave My Loved Ones
Putting together an estate plan may feel too emotional of a topic to tackle. That may mean that you’re not ready to lean into the process, but perhaps this mindset shift can help put into perspective why it is so necessary. Hopefully, it can help you lean in to completing an estate planning checklist.
Estate planning is a gift. It is about creating clarity around what was important to you for your heirs. By making the difficult decisions, your heirs won’t have to. The decisions are made for them. Additionally, by establishing an estate plan, your heirs may be able to avoid the probate process altogether (a typically lengthy, expensive legal process for the state to distribute your assets) or have a limited probate process.
An estate plan is a gift because it allows people the opportunity to grieve instead of worrying about things and money. At MPower Co we believe people and relationships are more important than money and things, and hopefully you would agree with us! Estate planning allows our loved ones the time and space to focus on celebrating our memory and moving forward.
There is No Better Day than Today to Begin Preparing an Estate Plan
Have you ever thought about something you needed to do and think “I’ll do that this afternoon” or “It’ll be better to get to that when the kids are asleep.” Then you realize three days later or after it’s too late, that you never got back to something.
It’s so easy to think “I’ll get to estate planning when..” or “I have a ton of time to get an estate plan together…” The when and ifs can get the best of us. There is no better time than today to start putting together a well thought out and, just as importantly, well documented estate plan.
Announcing Written Wishes!!
MPower Co is so excited to officially announce our upcoming course Written Wishes. This is a new offering for MPower Co and is the ultimate estate planning checklist. This four unit course will walk you through the process of creating estate planning documents using free resources, work you through creating a financial overview so that heirs don’t have a guessing game, and will give you a binder to collect all of the information and records generated throughout the course.
It is a turn-key estate planning experience that will walk you through the process of establishing and documenting your wishes. It is estate planning made easy. If you are ready to put your estate planning into motion and put your wishes into writing click here to join the course waitlist to be in the know as more information is released on the course!
Another Estate Planning Checklist Post That May Be of Interest
This isn’t MPower Co’s only post about estate planning! If you found this article helpful and want to keep reading on the topic of estate planning, head over to our article “11 Items to Include in an Estate Planning Binder.” It goes into the more practical estate planning checklist items like wills, powers of attorney, and much, much more.