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I Don't Have Any Estate Plan And I Am Overwhelmed. Where Do I Begin?


According to a survey conducted by Caring.com in 2021, 67% of Americans do not have a will. The survey also found that 32% of respondents between the ages of 35 and 54, and 18% of respondents over the age of 55, do not have a will. Additionally, the survey found that only 32% of respondents overall have a health care directive, which outlines their wishes for end-of-life medical treatment. These statistics suggest that a significant percentage of Americans do not have an estate plan in place.

If you don't have an estate plan, the first step is to start thinking about your goals and wishes for your assets and your loved ones after you pass away. Here are some steps to help you begin:

  1. Take stock of your assets: Make a list of all your assets, including real estate, investments, bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and personal property. This will give you an idea of what you have and what you need to plan for. Form America has a free form we can send you (that is yours to keep, no need to send it back to us) to map out your assets for your own planning purposes. Just email help@formamerica.com and ask for the Asset Tracker Form.

  2. Think about your beneficiaries: Decide who you would like to receive your assets after you pass away. You may want to consider leaving assets to family members, friends, or charities.

  3. Choose an executor: Choose someone you trust to be your executor. This person will be responsible for managing your assets and distributing them to your beneficiaries according to your wishes.

  4. Create a will: A will is a legal document that outlines how you would like your assets to be distributed after you pass away. It also allows you to name guardians for your minor children, name an executor, and make other important decisions. We can make your will and then replicate it with identical terms for your spouse. This is where the value of Form America is the strongest.

  5. We're not big fans of trusts, but for some larger estates or more complex situations with business assets, you may want to consult a certified financial planner or an estate attorney to take a look at setting up a trust. We can do simple ones for you but frankly if you need something complex, you probably need more than our forms.

  6. Plan for incapacity: You should also consider what will happen if you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself. You may want to create a power of attorney, a healthcare proxy, or a living will to ensure that your wishes are followed. Form America recommends both a financial power of attorney and an advanced medical health directive.

  7. Consult with an estate planning attorney, financial planner or both. Form America is not a law firm, and we don't give out legal advice. An estate planning attorney can help you create a comprehensive estate plan that meets your specific needs and goals. They can also help you navigate the legal requirements of estate planning. They might even send you back to us for the paperwork to make things cheaper.

Remember that estate planning is a process, and it's important to review and update your plan regularly to ensure that it still reflects your wishes and meets your needs.

Get it done.

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