According to experts, less than half of Americans have estate planning documents. But making arrangements for when you leave will not only take care of the people left behind, it also ensures that your bills are processed as you wish. Here are some estate planning tips that will ensure a safe and efficient start.
Write a will
If you die without a will, the state can take over and distribute your assets. As a rule, spouses and children first receive dibs, then other family members such as parents and siblings. If there is no family, the goods go to the state. A will also determines who will have custody of your children, if you were the last surviving parent.
Review your will / trust annually
Changes in your finances or personal relationships may require a change in your final will. Since most of us do not know when we are going to die, dynamic life changes may require us to update who gets what and how much. Failure to do so could result in tension and arbitration between surviving members
Subscribe life insurance
At least, make sure you have the basics covered when you calculate the amount of life insurance you may need. Think about the sum of your outstanding debts, your final expenses and your funds for your savings goals, such as college for kids. These costs being covered, your family should be able to live comfortably with the reminder of your insurance.
Create three additional critical documents
Estate planning is not limited to our last wishes. It also involves the creation of documents that determine what happens in case we are unable to take care of ourselves in our lifetime. A durable power of attorney allows you to appoint an agent to manage your finances and legal affairs.
An information disclosure form allows doctors to share your medical records with designated individuals. Advance directives can give power of attorney to health care decisions while you live.
Work with an estate planning team
Depending on the complexity of your estate, you may need the help of an estate planning team. Designate a tax professional who can help minimize the amount of income tax your beneficiaries will pay on their inheritances. A financial advisor will create a suitable investment portfolio for all your assets.
Also make sure you hire a lawyer who specializes in estate planning. Estate planning lawyers help create wills and trusts, while ensuring compliance with federal and national requirements. It is usually best to work with a local lawyer because he knows best the laws of the city and the state.