As someone who is just starting to plan for retirement and older age, you may know that it's time to start your estate planning process, too. The basics of estate planning are relatively simple: Get a will, decide if you want to have a trust, and decide on who you want to be responsible for your estate and health care if you can't make your own decisions.
Your estate plan should include your last will and testament as well as information on your assets. It's important to work with your attorney to set up your will, because you'll need to understand your state laws and how they apply to your estate.
How precise or specific should you be in your will?
That's up to you. You can give specific assets to people, or you can name a group of beneficiaries and let them decide how to divide your assets. In most cases, grouping assets yourself and doling them out in your will is the best option, since it prevents fighting and conflicts.
Does your will have to go through probate?
To a degree, yes. However, your attorney can help you set up trusts and will substitutes that will help your beneficiaries avoid the probate process and still have access to the assets you wanted to leave behind for them.
Estate planning takes time, and it can be complicated. Start as soon as you can with your basic plan, so you and your attorney can add to it and modify it as needed when major events happen in your life.