(SmartAsset) - Whether you’re young or old, it’s important to have a plan for what happens to your assets when you die. Estate planning is an essential part of financial planning. It pays to do your research when planning your estate. We’ve made a list of the seven best books on estate planning so you can plan for the future with confidence.
If you need more hands-on help, a financial advisor could help you create an estate plan for your family’s needs and goals.
1. “Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won’t Have To,” by Melanie Cullen and Shae Irving, J.D.
It can be a chaotic time when a loved one passes. The last thing you need is to be searching for documents or information. In “Get It Together,” Cullen and Irving give you everything you need so your loved ones know where everything is when they need it. With their system, you’ll create a binder to contain all your vital information, such account passwords, insurance information, tax records and other estate planning documents.
With “Get It Together,” you’ve got a great a place to start your estate planning. The book really takes the guesswork out of preparation. So, if you’re just starting the process, “Get It Together” is the perfect companion for the trip. That’s why it’s our #1 pick for best books on estate planning.
2. “Living Trusts for Everyone: Why a Will Is Not the Way to Avoid Probate, Protect Heirs, and Settle Estates,” by Ronald Farrington Sharp
“Living Trusts for Everyone”gives you the tools to set up a living trust without a lawyer. Throughout the book, Sharp lays out why living trusts are better than wills. He points out how they setup inheritance and help avoid probate. This book gives you the resources you need to negotiation lower lawyer fees, along with useful form letters.
Its ease of use, step-by-step instruction and great advice on how to avoid court and paying attorney fees is why it’s near the top of this list. “Living Trusts for Everyone”is a great book on estate planning you should read planning yours.
3. “Beyond the Grave, Revised and Updated Edition: The Right Way and the Wrong Way of Leaving Money to Your Children (and Others),” by Jeffery L. Condon
The less confusion around your estate and with your heirs, the better. “Beyond the Grave” lays out how to make sure your inheritance instructions will be honored. With several “cautionary tales,” “Beyond the Grave”covers topics like debt, divorce, estate mismanagement and other family drama.
On top of that, it shows you ways to lessen taxes, making sure your heirs receive the most money possible. All this is why “Beyond the Grave”scores high on our best books on estate planning list this year.
4. “The Complete Book of Wills, Estates & Trusts: Advice That Can Save You Thousands of Dollars in Legal Fees and Taxes,” by Alexander A. Bove Jr. Esq. and Melissa Langa Esq.
This classic guide breaks down a large amount of complex legal topics around estate planning. These topics range from how to establish power of attorney to how to avoid your will being contested. Langa and Bove combine their decades of experience to give you insights into legalities around estates.
If you’re searching for a comprehensive guide on wills, trusts and estates, look no further. The ground covered here is substantial. And that’s why we put it on our list of best books on estate planning.
5. “ABA/AARP Checklist for My Family: A Guide to My History, Financial Plans, and Final Wishes,” by Sally Balch Hurme
From the American Bar Association (ABA) and the AARP comes this valuable resource. This checklist helps you get everything together so your loved ones are prepared. Here you can determine medical, funeral and financial decisions to be made when you get ill or die.
The focus of this book is preserving your legacy by making it easier for your heirs. The “ABA/AARP Checklist” helps you have confidence that your family will have what they need when it’s your time to go.
6. “The Wall Street Journal Complete Estate Planning Guidebook,” by Rachel Emma Silverman
From the trusted “Wall Street Journal” comes this guidebook on how to make death and taxes easier. This book will help you make decisions on how to divide your estate among heirs. It also will help you navigate conversations with lawyers and estate planners by breaking down legal jargon.
Don’t wait to start planning your estate. The “Wall Street Journal Complete Estate Planning Guidebook” lays out what you need to know so you can get started early. That’s why it’s on our best books on estate planning list.
7. “Estate Planning for the Sandwich Generation: How to Help Your Parents and Protect Your Kids,” by Catherine Hodder Esq
Are you stuck between planning for aging parents and your own kids? Then “Estate Planning for the Sandwich Generation” is for you. With help from this book, you can have difficult talks with your parents about their estate. On top of that, it will set you up to plan for your own estate to make things easier on your kids.
The number of scenarios this book covers makes it a winning choice for estate planning. It goes over what to do if there’s an unexpected death, if there’s a divorce, every legal document you should have for your estate and more. Its emphasis on family and how to talk through hard subjects makes it one of the top books on estate planning.
It’s never too early to start planning your estate. You can be prepared with these seven books on estate planning. Writing a will, organizing documents and having hard conversations with loved ones are all part of the process. These books give you the resources to plan with confidence.
Tips for Getting Your Family’s Finances in Order
A financial advisor could help you set up an estate plan. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors in your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
You need to have your affairs in order for yourself, but more importantly, for your family. This is especially true if something were to happen to you and you’re unable to make your own decisions. Use our comprehensive estate planning guide to understand all of the components of estate planning.