3: One Size Does Not Fit All

As you can see, estate planning can be as simple as writing a will and completing the documents that will address income, medical needs and care for minor relatives.

There are ways to organize and prepare to work with an advisor that will help make the process easier, including:

  • Take a complete inventory of your personal property and assign realistic values to your assets. You can find tools online to help you estimate what your home, car, and other property is worth.
  • Make a list of your beneficiaries, making note of any special needs or considerations you want to discuss. Remember, beneficiaries may be organizations and charities such as Kennedy Krieger Foundation, as well as individuals.
  • Keep your spouse in the loop from the get-go. It's not only a matter of respect and consideration, but coordinating your plans often leads to additional savings for the estate. You may also choose to discuss your plans with other trusted family members or friends.
  • Choose an attorney you trust and bring your inventory and notes with you to ensure that you give them a complete picture of what you want and need in your estate plan.

Next: Minimizing Your Tax Liabilities