Estate Planning Advice

Preparing for an untimely demise not only puts your anxieties to rest but allows your loved ones comfort in their time of need. Having your final say so in what happens to your estate can be the difference of thinking your other half would gain control only to have it sold from disputing family members who want to claim their right to possess said estate. Years of court procedures and tying up both money and time can be avoided if planning ahead.

Making sure you cover all aspects in planning your estate, you may find it helpful to visit a website that has free forms down-loadable to your computer. You may print out these forms and fill them out in a timely manner. After filling them out, have them witnessed or notarized. Update your plan as often as needed. Be sure to keep records of the updates. Keep one set of signed documents available and store the rest marking them “null or void”. Do not keep these documents in a safe deposit box as it slows the process for filing for death benefits.

After a divorce, separation, death within your beneficiaries, birth of children or grandchildren, or any significant change, you should review your plan. As a good habit you should review it every couple of years as some laws change or situations change without realizing. Name an executor, this person should have time and the ability to manage your estate from the time of your death until your assets are distributed. To make this as easy as possible, you may want to hire an estate attorney. Although expensive, estate attorneys tend to keep everything legal and answer questions you may not otherwise get answers to.

To begin preparing your estate without an attorney you must follow some general guidelines. Prepare your will. Pass your estate on to whom you want to have it. Without a will probate court may get involved. Along with a will, you may find the need for a health care proxy. Once legal age of 21 you may want a health care proxy in case you are unable to make medical decisions on your own. It would also be helpful to appoint a power of attorney for the same reason.

Make a list of all your assets and liabilities. Keep these liabilities updated as they need to be paid at the time of your death. After paying those debts, what’s left goes to your beneficiaries.