While people in Washington do not like to think about what will happen when they die, it is an important thing to consider in order to prevent issues in the future. Even those who do not have significant assets or children benefit from conducting some basic planning.

According to U.S. News, there are certain components that everyone should consider when it comes to estate planning. One is writing and signing a will. This determines who gets personal assets such as vehicles, property, jewelry, artwork and money. Opening a trust is another consideration that may be beneficial.

When there are minor children involved, naming a guardian is essential. This person will raise the children in the event both parents pass away. Naming one prevents a judge from having to choose a guardian and from family members fighting over the decision.

It is also important to name beneficiaries for life insurance, pensions and retirement accounts, as this information is not in a will. Naming a financial and medical power of attorney as well as having a living will is beneficial in medical emergencies and other situations in which the person is unable to make decisions on his or her own.

Another part of estate planning is choosing an executor. Forbes explains that an executor manages all parts of the estate upon death, so it is a good idea to choose the right person. Some important traits to consider include:

  • Strong attention to detail
  • Responsible
  • Mature but not too old
  • Understanding of the family’s values and situation
  • Lives in close proximity
  • Has time and desire to carry out role

A person may also name more than one executor. It is common to name a close friend or family member and a professional such as an attorney, accountant or financial advisor.