An estate plan involves who is going to benefit and/or who will be responsible. The who can be more important than the what.
So the question to answer is: Who is going to benefit from your estate? Family members, friends, charities? Think about all the people who are eligible if you don't leave a Will. These are often family and spouses including defacto. If you are supporting someone financially, they may be eligible. Look at the list on NSW Law for more information. If you are outside NSW search Intestacy in 'your state'.
Then, who is going to fill the role of your shoes when you can't transact due to illness, injury or death. These roles are the Enduring Power of Attorney for when you are alive and your Executor for when you have passed away. There is also the role of Guardian who could be appointed to make your lifestyle decisions such as medical care and living arrangements.
For many, this is a simple question: it could be your spouse, parents, adult children, close friends. But what if your first choice can't fill the role? Do you have back up persons? Remember the role is voluntary and can be declined so it can be useful to check in with the person before nominating them.
For those who are struggling with nominating someone to fill the role of Attorney, Executor or Guardian, let's do some brain storming.
Do you have someone who is trustworthy but may not be the best with administration? If yes, maybe you could support them with someone who is good at administration either in your family or a professional such as your accountant or financial planner.
If still no luck, look at the list of who will benefit and see if there are anyone associated or related who could help and will benefit. Keeping interests aligned can reduce potential conflict later.
As part of our process, we help you identify people you think will be suitable.
Use this list to write down the people involved in your estate plan and the roles they will play.
Well done, step 1 is complete.
The next step is to put together your list of what. Read Step 2.