If you ever find yourself caught up thinking about what happens to you and your things after you die, you should start your estate plan. Though these thoughts can cause fear, there are many ways to find comfort from these concerns. Estate planning is a good start. Most of us have a limit to our knowledge about the steps and the many options that we have for the estate planning process and preparing for our inevitable passing.
Here are five things we should all know about the estate planning process:
The best way to start the estate planning process is to get a clear understating of the court’s process in your state. Court probate can jumble up even the most simple of estates. Probate is the court’s process in the decision for the distribution of a deceased person’s estates and belongings. Each state has a different process, a different length of time for the probate process, and a different number of probate fees. Probate fees can be very high in most states and can take months, if not years, to complete. So having every way to avoid this process would be in your best interest. Here is a good article to help explain probate.
Having a Will
A will does not get rid of the probate process, but it does eliminate some of its headache and processing time. A will is a way to help guide the process along, which will make the probate process much quicker and help avoid unnecessary fees. Though it doesn’t eliminate the process, anything that speeds up the probation is better, right? Having beneficiary names for all larger scale assets is key. This will speed up the process, to ensure no one is fighting over any money or homes. This is a very important part of the estate planning process, avoiding confusion and conflict.
Financial Asset Beneficiaries
Having a name for all financial assets makes things run smoother, as all institutions can simply disperse the funds to their exact given holders. Having a beneficiary name on a particular item or asset avoids the probate process. This most commonly will occur in life insurance policies and retirement plans. Most of which will require the owner of the plan to have a beneficiary name attached to the plan. Almost all of your assets are given to a beneficiary. For example; bank accounts, brokerage accounts, those are just a few of the most common.
A Trust That is Revocable
Another great way to avoid the probate process is to hold a revocable trust, also called a “living trust.” The beneficiary names or people involved in the trust are known as the “trustees.” A benefit to owning a living trust is that the trustees gain a certain amount of control. This control will allow for a much easier process when distributing all assets and items in the trust. Living trusts are technical because the articles and assets in the trust are technically the property of the trust upon creation. It’s technical, but it makes the distribution process much easier. The easier it is for you, the better, right?
Power of Attorney
The two different power of attorneys you want to look for are simple, financial and medical. Firstly, a financial power of attorney allows you to choose who is in charge of handling the financial assets. This would help drastically if you were to become ill or die. It would assist you in covering hospital and or funeral costs and any other medical expenses acquired along the way. Secondly, a medical power of attorney. This gives you the option to set a particular medical treatment preference. If for whatever reason you become incapacitated or are unable to make medical decisions for yourself. To make it simple, you have the choice on whether or not you will be put on life support and how a doctor will treat you.
Our inevitable death is something we all fear whether we like it or not, but having a plan will ease this fear. For most, they are unprepared. Most people don’t want to deal with it or have no idea how to start their plan. Planning for your inevitable future is something that is not stressed enough. The effects of a sudden death will put a damper on the ones around you. While they are already dealing with the loss of your life, the last thing they want add are the stresses of trying to figure out what will happen to your belongings. Also, the financial cost and time spent on the belongings of a lost relative are grueling for someone mourning their death.
Contact an estate planning attorney today to find out the best options for you.