There is a lot more to estate planning than simply writing a will, although will writing isn’t necessarily simple, of course. It takes some time and effort, but once you have a complete estate plan you can sit back and relax; nothing else needs doing unless your circumstances change in some way such as you re-marry or you have another child. Here are some useful tips to help you when it comes to carrying out estate planning.
Write A Will
Although your will isn’t the only aspect of estate planning, it is perhaps the most important step of the process. Writing a will means that you can be sure that your estate will be distributed in the way that you want it to be, plus it’s a useful document for including some of the other estate planning items that we will discuss later.
Make sure that your will is valid once you have written it. It needs the testator to sign and date the will in the presence of two witnesses who also need to sign the will. You will need to be of sound mind too, and not under duress of any kind.
Choose A Living Trust
You may wish to create a living trust, and this can be a favored option for many people. A living trust allows you to pass on your assets without having to go through probate, but it also allows someone else to manage your affairs should you no longer be able to. The trust would effectively own your assets, which could include your car, property, and bank accounts amongst other things. You become a trustee, and you also appoint an additional trustee who will take over when you pass away. If this option makes sense to you, you might want to engage a professional trust administration firm to help guide you through this process.
Decide On A Medical Power Of Attorney
If you have a medical power of attorney you will name someone to make medical decisions for you should you become incapacitated. This means there will be no delays and no conflict in your treatment. Make sure you discuss what you want to happen in specific situations with your MPOA so that they know exactly what to do should they need to be called upon at all.
Decide On A Financial Power Of Attorney
As with the medical power of attorney, financial power of attorney will manage your financial affairs if and when you no longer can. The financial power of attorney can be limited or cover everything; that choice is yours and should be carefully considered before making a decision.
If your estate is wealthy, then you may find that your loved ones are going to have to face taxes when you die. You’ll want to do your best to minimize how much they have to pay, and although this must be done legally, it can be done through professionals who will be able to help you reduce the tax burden that would otherwise be left behind when you go.