As Indiana residents think about and prepare for the future with an estate plan, minor issues in the document might come to the forefront. However, this can prevent them from ensuring that the larger issues are addressed and the document is as comprehensive as it should be. This will protect the beneficiaries, ensure that all the testator’s property goes where he or she wants, and other aspects – businesses, heirlooms, decisions on medical treatment – are handled appropriately. Being cognizant of the fundamentals is a critical part of the process.

Everything a person owns is part of the estate. This is not limited to a home or an automobile. It includes their savings accounts, retirement plans and portfolio. These properties must be accurately valued. Getting an appraisal – even the smallest and seemingly insignificant assets – is essential. A crucial component of an estate plan is to care for a family. Insurance policies and guardianships for those under 18 are basic steps to make sure they are shielded.

Because families are in an emotionally challenging place after the death of a loved one, it can be overwhelming for one or two people to oversee the estate plan. Separating the responsibilities among trusted family members can avoid complications and overload. Beneficiaries should be listed and a trusted person can be given the power of attorney to make decisions in the testator’s stead if he or she is incapacitated.

There must be full documentation to prevent confusion and acrimony. It should be written and clear while adhering to the necessary protocols to prove its validity. This can be accomplished through wills and trusts. The document will name an executor or a trustee who will oversee the person’s estate. A living will detail the testator’s desires if, for example, he or she may need to be placed on a respirator to stay alive or needs certain treatments and does or does not want this to happen.

Estate planning can be a complex matter. When crafting these documents, a litany of factors should be considered to make certain they are complete and address all the issues relevant to the testator. When formulating these documents, having legal advice is advisable. Consulting with experienced estate planning professionals can cover all the bases and should be a priority in the process.