Estate planning is critical for efficiently transferring your money, property, and assets to your beneficiaries after you die. The reason people choose an estate plan is that it avoids probate. One thing to keep in mind about your estate plan is not to set it and forget it. As life continues to change, your estate plan should reflect those changes too. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you continue to monitor and update your estate plan:
Remember to update your last will. Work with a legal professional to create a last will that will detail your wishes regarding the distribution of your property, money, and assets. Your will is also the document to appoint someone to care for minor children or pets. Keep this document up to date as your financial and familial situation changes.
Consider using a trust to preserve valuable assets.
A house is an excellent example of something that can be extremely time-consuming and emotionally exhausting to transfer after someone dies. If you don't have a trust document, your family may need to go through probate, a tedious court process to transfer your assets retroactively, which can be expensive and public.
Keep an up-to-date inventory of your assets.
You may not realize how valuable your assets are or who may want them when you're gone, so be sure to list who receives each asset and the approximate value of each in the estate plan. During the estate planning process, asset information to keep in mind includes homes, land, other real estate, vehicles, boats, and collectibles. Intangible assets to include in an estate plan are savings accounts, life insurance policies, retirement plans, ownership in a company, and more.
Establish your directives.
A complete estate plan includes legal directives such as a power of attorney document, a medical care directive, and a trust document. Who you choose as your power of attorney is a critical decision, so choose wisely and keep your power of attorney document up to date in case the relationship with that individual(s) changes.
Review your beneficiaries often.
Consistently check the beneficiaries listed on your retirement and insurance plans, as these designations can outweigh what is listed in a will. Life transitions that may prompt a change in beneficiaries include divorce, the birth of a new child, the loss of a loved one, a marriage, etc.
Work with your legal and financial professionals.
Your legal and financial professionals can work together towards establishing an estate plan that contains specific information regarding your securities and retirement assets to help transfer your assets to your heirs when it's time.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for individualized legal advice. Please consult your legal advisor regarding your specific situation.
All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
This article was prepared by Fresh Finance.
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