Only 18% of Americans aged 55 and over have all the recommended legacy plan components on paper. Even more shocking, 50% of Americans within the retirement age don’t have a will. With that said, it’s clear that millions of Americans are still clueless about the importance of estate planning.
Estate planning goes beyond having a written will. There’re other fundamentals, including healthcare directives and the durable power of attorney that should matter. Having your personal property distributed through probate courts when the time finally comes isn’t anyone’s cup of coffee.
If you’re looking for estate planning tips to help guide your keen and kith in your absence, you are in the right place. This estate planning guide should help you get your act together before the inevitability of death. Read on for more.
List Everything You Own
The first step in your estate planning process should be to have an exact list of your possessions.
An inventory of all your assets should help you plan and ensure that everything you own is well-documented. It would be helpful to also keep the list in a place where you can reference and update in real-time.
Your list of assets should cover all real estate property you own wholly or in partnership. A comprehensive list of assets should also include bank accounts related to income from such property with approximate balances. It would help if you considered updating this list as often as possible to keep track of any changes.
Assemble a Team
The estate planning process will determine the fate of a lifetime of toil and sweat. As such, it’s imperative to have a power team on your side. Choosing reliable experts can help you make the best decisions during the process.
You may include a financial advisor, a tax professional, and estate planning, attorneys. Each of these professionals has a role to play in ensuring that planning your estate is flawless.
Always consider the level of experience and reputation before spending your top dollar on an expert.
Consider the Cost of Estate Planning
You don’t know how much time you have left on earth. While some people rest soon after preparing a will, others survive an entire decade. During this period, the whole process of designing and updating your legacy plan can get expensive.
Giles & Robinson provides expert advice for all Estate and Trust planning needs.
One of the estate planning tips you should hold to your heart is an understanding of the cost implications. You don’t want a scenario where the actual cost of estate planning supersedes your estate’s value. To complete the estate planning process, you need to work in close relations with a lawyer specializing in estate planning.
In the end, you get what you paid for when dealing with an estate planning attorney. It would help to prepare in advance to foot the necessary expenditure. Here’s a breakdown of the estate planning cost to help you conceptualize the process.
Document Your Wishes
Your legacy plan confirms your last wishes. Your probate assets and valuables will be safer if you have a stipulated plan for who should take control following your demise. While a lawyer can help you put everything you need in order, it’s vital to have a checklist.
Part of the estate planning tips you should consider is the inclusion of a healthcare power of attorney. This should determine the person empowered to make all your health care decisions.
Also, include a durable financial power of attorney to satisfy that there’s a responsible person to make all the financial pronouncements.
A living will should also be an integral part of your last wishes. You can also consider enlisting specific people who can access unlimited information about your health.
The last and most crucial inclusion should be your testament. The last will stipulates all designated beneficiaries for your property.
Set up Guardianship for Dependents
When you own high-value assets, it’s essential to have a clear succession plan. Dependents, especially minors or persons with special needs, often tend to be on the receiving end if you die in intestacy. One of the best estate planning tips to consider should be to set up guardianship for such dependents.
It would help to talk to your chosen guardian before time and get their consent. It’s also advisable to consider such an individual’s integrity as a priority before enlisting them as guardians.
Consider professional advice on how to settle for guardianship from a lawyer before making the decision.
Plan Ahead for Federal and State Taxes
All federal estate taxes are due in cash precisely nine months after death. This would mean having to sell some of the assets to convert them into cash. It would be prudent to avoid any future tax complications when you are long gone.
The best way to deal with tax-related hitches beforehand is to consult ahead of time. Work with a tax professional who can advise you on handling both federal and state taxes.
Avoid Probate at All Cost
It overrides any good intentions you might have had if your dependents end up going through extensive legal tussles to settle the intestate wrangles. If the courts have to verify your will through a tedious and costly process, this might become a source of ridicule for your family.
Avoiding the probate route is your bonus tip on how to plan your estate. It would help to work with an estate planning attorney to get your house in order while still capable of making informed choices.
Secure Your Legacy With These Estate Planning Tips
Nobody wants to turn and toss in their grave as a reaction to the endless court processes meant to settle issues related to intestacy. Even so, your failure to resolve all pending matters pertaining to your legacy plans can lead to this long yet costly process.
Are you concerned about the welfare of your dependents and estate when you’re no longer on earth?
These seven estate planning tips can help you prepare a clear path for succession. With these tips, you don’t have to worry about the execution of your will, a power of attorney, or the living trust.
Your legacy is now secure with this estate planning guide.
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