Estate planning is about making life more manageable for your family members and heirs, while still being able to enjoy your assets during your lifetime.
It is a way of putting everything in order before your death. It is a very complex task and involves several different people.
Some people handle it themselves, while most hire an estate planning attorney to assist them in the process of planning their estate.
Estate planning isn’t just about sorting out the financial issues that arise when you die, but about ensuring the people you wish to receive your assets do so.
It is about ensuring the safe transfer of ownership of your property, assets, and finances to the people you choose.
Storing your estate plans (including any necessary legal documents, financial documents, and the electronic records) so that your family and future heirs can save thousands of dollars on dealing with the financial, legal, and administrative issues involved. It’s better to have things in order so that your family will have a smooth transition.
If you want to get the most out of your estate, it is important that you begin planning now, so that you can get the best deals possible on your real estate.
You will also want to start making sure that you do not invest your money or assets in real estate properties, which you have not yet owned before you are ready to pass away.
Estate planning does require you to get yourself organized.
One way to do this is to take an inventory of your assets as well as getting them appraised. These things include:
This list will be used by your estate planning attorneys, accountants, probate courts, financial planners, financial advisors, and other professionals involved in your estate planning process.
When you are ready to get started, get a copy of your tax returns, and begin reviewing those assets.
Determine which assets are actually yours and begin contacting the appropriate people to get them appraised.
Then you will need to find ways of making sure that your assets are liquidated in the event of your death or incapacity to manage them.
The next step in estate planning is to create a Last Will and Testament, or Living Trust.
A Living Trust/Will is designed to serve as a last will and testament to protect your assets.
After you make your Last Will and Testament, it will serve as your personal power of attorney and will name who can make decisions on behalf of your estate. It is then made part of your estate plan.
By having a Living Trust, you will know that your property will be divided between your beneficiaries in accordance with your instructions and that you won’t have to deal with estate transactions on your own. It also gives you the peace of mind that your assets will be handled properly.
It is important that your family understands what your estate plan consists of, how it works and how to fill out the necessary forms. Your heirs must also have a clear understanding of this plan so that they are familiar with the responsibilities you have placed upon them. In most cases, a Last Will and Testament and Living Trust are required for anyone to be eligible to inherit from you.
Another area that your legal representatives can help you with is your insurance.
Most of your insurance coverage is designed to pay your medical expenses in the event of your disability.
Life insurance may also provide some of your death benefits.
Life insurance should not be considered an optional part of your estate plan.
The family’s funeral costs, including the cost of cremation, can also be covered in your estate plan.
If you do not have enough money to cover these expenses, you may want to consider taking out an insurance policy to do this for you.
A health and life insurance policy will pay for your burial costs and will give you some cash for your belongings, especially those that are not likely to be sold.
There may be certain aspects of your estate plan that your relatives and members of your household cannot control.
In these instances, it is advisable that you provide these individuals with a form that allows them to appoint a guardian for a child, spouse, a parent or a dependent that you don’t have custody of or a beneficiary.
If you are unable to provide the appropriate forms, you can seek out the advice of insurance companies such as insurance brokers.
Many insurance companies will also be able to give you advice on the best option available to meet your estate planning needs.
Once you have determined what your estate plan entails, you can move forward with your plans.
Attorneys specializing in estate planning are able to help you create a rock solid, legally binding document that outlines the details of your estate.
They are able to keep these documents in a safe place and present them when the time comes.