If something happens to you, you must have a plan to allow beneficiaries to receive any leftover assets after your death.
An estate plan is a set of legal documents to help you achieve your goals and provide for your loved ones and yourself. Estate plans generally encompass wills, living wills, health care directives, etc. However, most people do not even know how to approach estate planning. It can be complex but does not have to be so. It is necessary to work with an experienced attorney who will set up an estate plan for you at a reasonable cost, especially if you wish to secure everyone’s future. While that’s one critical decision, you would want to understand your objective of doing what you want to do.
Goal setting in estate planning
Before you set out for this task, you must first think of your goals. The following two questions, in particular, should help you think about what you want to accomplish and guide your discussion with an attorney. Do you wonder whether your heirs can protect your wealth? Is there someone in the family with special care needs? You also have to decide who will own your financial assets. You may also want to make sure some assets go to specific beneficiaries. Be sure to write down answers or add additional thoughts so that you can share this with an attorney later on.
If you worry about the choice of a lawyer for this matter, you must know that there are many options. Approaching someone like Rochester Law Center, for example, can be immensely helpful.
The different components of the estate planning process
The easiest way for you to start coming up with a proper estate plan is to list down all the things you would like to pass on to your chosen ones. It would be best if you were sure about who they will be. Married people usually transfer everything to their spouses. As a beneficiary, they will be able to take ownership of any specific valuable items that you gift them. Remember to divide your assets into different categories for ease of recollection and distribution. Some standard options include physical assets, financial assets, and digital assets. Property, cars, homes, RVs, and other things come under physical assets, while life insurance, business, savings accounts, retirement plans, and others feature in the financial asset group. Digital assets may include photos, graphics, videos, etc.
You may wonder how your will comes under this, but it’s a part of the estate planning process. Creating a will alters your legacy. It tells you who should receive your property after you’re gone and clarifies your charitable intentions. A lawyer can help with what you want to do, but figuring out the basics is essential. Should you leave everything to a child or equally share it between several? Or give most of the money to charity? Different situations call for distinct approaches, so there are different types of wills. However, one of the most popular options includes Living Wills.
If something happens to you, you must have a plan to allow beneficiaries to receive any leftover assets after your death. Your beneficiaries can be anyone, including a group of individuals or charities (not just relatives). And even though it may be difficult making these decisions, the worst-case scenario would be for those tasked with settling your affairs to decide these matters for you. They might forget someone you would otherwise want to protect because that’s close to your heart. Setting up contingent beneficiaries can also be a good idea. If something untowardly happens, these individuals would be the subsequent recipients of your estate and those named in your primary list of beneficiaries.
Parents often have immediate family in mind when deciding who they want to take care of their kids if they lose their life. The critical advice is that the guardian should be someone you completely trust with your kids’ lives. You might want to consider inquiring about your friends’ or relatives’ views on taking over as guardians if you were out of the picture. But always remember that you know your children best, so ultimately, it is up to you who holds legal custody and provides guidance in your place. You don’t want something as important as this taken care of by a judge or government-appointed agent because chances are they won’t understand them as you do.
Protect your financial and real estate assets for your loved ones by avoiding the legal process of probate should you pass away. Do everything you can to share with them now, while you are still living, in an efficient way – so neither of you has to deal with a lot of financial stress during this challenging time. While it can sound negative or a little heavy on the heart, life is unpredictable. But you can create a difference in your near ones’ lives even when you are not around. So, contact a reputable estate planning attorney and get guidance.