As an adult, it is important to make sure that you plan not only for your life, but for your death as well. Even if you have no health risks, it is always a smart idea to have an estate plan in place for the unexpected. This will help protect your interests and ensure that your wishes are carried out whenever you pass away.

#1 Figure Out An Executor

When you pass on, you are going to need to find someone to be the executor of your estate. That is the person who is legally responsible for carrying out the instructions as they are laid out in your estate plan and will. This is a huge decision as it will require a commitment from the person who is assigned to be the executor of your will.

You are going to want to find someone who is responsible and whom you trust to honor your wishes as they are written. Find someone who will make the process of fulfilling your will go smoothly for your loved ones.

Remember, this is not a permanent assignment. You can change the executor of your will as your life progresses and relationships change.

#2 Determine Who Your Beneficiaries Are

Second, you need to determine who your beneficiaries are. Typically, they are your spouse and children. If you don't have a spouse or children, then your parents and siblings generally become your default beneficiaries, although the laws vary by state who is your beneficiary and who is not.

It is best to spell out in your state plan exactly who your beneficiaries are and who is not your beneficiaries. Spelling this out and specifically stating who you want to inherit your estate will prevent fighting over who gets your estate and it will help ensure that someone you didn't want to have a part of your estate ends up getting something from you after you pass away.

This, just like with the executor, is something that can be updated over time. Make sure that you update this if you, for example, have children or get divorces or family members pass away. You can also include language that protects any children you have by specifically naming your children and adding language that includes any future children born after the estate plan was drafted as well.

Think carefully about who you want to carry out your will and who you want to benefit from it. Also, keep in mind that these are not forever choices. You can change who carries out and benefits from your will as your life circumstances change. Talk with an attorney for help.