The only way to ensure that your belongings are appropriately distributed according to your wishes after death is to leave behind an airtight plan. Estate planning helps eliminate uncertainties surrounding estate distribution and attempts to maximize value by reducing taxes and expenses. Ultimately, the format, length, and content of your plan will depend on your specific goals and needs. Estate planning attorneys are available to aid you in this process. Large estates typically result in more complicated preparation, but regardless of its size the following tips will help you make sure your assets are divided according to your wishes.
You need to keep all of your documents and information up to date. Your will or trust can be invalidated by a number of major life events, including marriage, divorce, relocation, and the birth of a child. You should also be aware of changes in laws and regulations. Keep your personal and legal information as current as possible. Your lawyer should regularly review your will or trust to make sure it is legally binding. Despite how clearly you convey your intentions for your belongings, it takes a trained eye to make sure your legal bases are covered.
Next, check all policies and accounts and learn the listed beneficiaries for your IRAs, qualified plans, and life insurance policies. The beneficiary you listed upon opening these accounts may no longer be the person to whom you’d like to leave these assets. Changing the beneficiary simply requires some paperwork; however, if you have a lawyer, always consult for legal advice before adjusting your plan estate.
You also need to maximize the liquidity of your physical assets and monitor your investment risk. Liquidity refers to the amount of time and effort required to turn your assets into cash. Illiquid assets are substantially more difficult and expense to sell. Sadly, death will bring all sorts of expenses to your family members, including taxes and funerary costs. Make you sure you leave them quick access to sufficient cash, even if it is through liquidation.
Naming a dependable executor is one of the most important aspects of estate planning. Most people choose an executor from qualified estate planning attorneys while some to choose to elect a trusted family member. Your trustee will handle collecting your assets, paying debts and obligations, and distributing your assets according to your wishes. You need to select someone who is knowledgeable about estate law, and can be trusted. Considering training and experience, estate planning attorneys are your best option for the position of executor. You need someone who can work at a distance from the situation, and isn’t emotionally invested in the outcome of estate allocation.
Make sure you consider the character and personality of each person for whom you intend to leave something behind. If you’re the parent of a minor, be aware that individual you choose for guardianship of your child doesn’t necessarily have to manage that child’s trust. You can name a guardian for your child, and place someone else in charge of money management. Likewise, if you have a teen or family member who is notoriously irresponsible financially, you can put a money management system in place. Each situation is different, which is why estate planning attorneys are so important.