Estate Planning In Your Bucket List

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You’ve probably heard the term “bucket list,” but it can really take a different meaning when you are an estate planning lawyer. We deal with the reality of life and death every day, and we want to help clients maximize what they leave behind.

For that reason, here are some items we think everyone should consider when creating an “estate planning bucket list:”


Estate Attorney and Advisor Chris Berry of Castle Wealth Group answers questions on retirement and estate planning every Wednesday at 1pm. Register via this link or give our office a call at 844-885-4200.

Castle Wealth Group and Christopher Berry help families with estate planning, elder law, retirement planning, and tax planning from their offices in Brighton, Ann Arbor, Livonia, Bloomfield Hills, and Novi.

Castle Wealth Group helps families with their legal, financial, and tax planning for their retirement and legacy.

With the use of legal structures like revocable living trusts, Castle Trusts (asset protection trusts), Chris Berry and Castle Wealth Group can help your family plan, protect, and preserve what is important through their Retirement and Legacy Blueprint Process.


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First, inventory. Create an inventory of everything you own, including assets such as retirement accounts, stocks, and insurance policies. This is a great way of thoroughly accounting for all that will be left behind. Then come the debts. We live in a time when debt is more common than not, and your estate planning lawyer will encourage you to create a separate list of what you and your estate owe.

This includes mortgages, lines of credit, credit card accounts, auto loans, and everything else that comes to mind. Next list your memberships. Everything including AAA, alumni associations, and charities you support. Once you have a list of your assets, you can then locate accounts with beneficiary designations.

Retirement accounts are an example of these. You need to ensure the beneficiary you have listed is correct, even if you have something else written in your will. It will be the beneficiary designation that is followed after your passing. Insurance policies also have one or more beneficiaries listed.

Once again, make sure all the information is correct and up to date. By pooling these lists and all this information together, you are making the job of your executor easier. An executor is a person you choose to distribute your assets and fulfill the legal obligations of an estate. I, or another estate planning lawyer, can offer advice on choosing the right person. Finally, once you have your estate broken down into lists, the time comes to write your will.

Your attorney may also help you create various trusts to ensure your estate is used to your specifications and that taxes are minimized upon your death. Be sure to let loved ones know about your planning and leave copies of important documents with those who may need them. This helps to ensure that your wishes are honored and the administration of your estate goes as smoothly as possible when you are gone.


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