It's never to early to have your estate planning completed. When you sell your house it's a great time to meet with your elder law attorney.
1. Provide for your immediate family.
Don't just think of money (perhaps through life insurance or other means) – you need to nominate the guardians for your minor children in case both parents die when the children are young.
2. Provide for disabled children, adult dependent children, elderly parents, or other relatives.
You can establish a supplemental needs trust or other mechanism for family members who need support that you will no longer be there to provide.
3. Get your property to your beneficiaries quickly.
Options include avoiding or greatly easing probate (the Court process for distributing assets passing through a Will) through insurance paid directly to beneficiaries, joint tenancies, pay-on-death designations, living trusts, or other means.
4. Plan for your incapacity, not just your death.
You should also plan for your own possible mental or physical incapacity, perhaps through a living trust as well as a Health Care Directive and Power of Attorney.
5. Minimize expenses.
Good estate planning can significantly reduce the expenses of transferring your property to your beneficiaries.
6. Choose executors for your estate, as well as guardians and trustees for your children.
Your executor or personal representative will be responsible for carrying out the directions you express in your Will. A trustee carries out the directions contained in any trust for your children, and the guardian raises the children in your absence. Choosing competent persons for these roles, and giving them clear directions, is essential.
7. Ease the strain on your family.
Remove a large burden from your grieving survivors by good planning, including planning ahead for your funeral arrangements. This is a significant gift to your family during one of the most difficult times of their lives.
8. Help a favorite cause.
Your estate plan can support religious, educational and other charitable causes, either during your lifetime or upon your death, and possibly save you money in taxes.
9. Reduce taxes on your estate.
A good estate plan can ensure that you give the maximum allowed by law to your beneficiaries, and the minimum to the government.
10. Make sure your business goes on smoothly.
You can provide for an orderly succession and continuation of your business through proper and thorough estate planning.