There are few things worse than experiencing the loss of a loved one, and part of that loss can mean dealing with the deceased's financial affairs. If you want to lessen the burden on your loved ones, some careful estate planning can go a long way toward that goal. Estate planning may be difficult to think about, but when you consider how much peace of mind you are providing to the ones left behind, it is well worth it. Estate planning doesn't have to be complicated, so read on for some basic tips to get you started on this important task.
Before you contact that estate attorney, take some time to do a bit of research yourself. State law directs estate provisions, so focus on laws and rules that apply to your particular state. For example, not every state requires that all wills must be probated, sometimes it depends on the size (which, in this case, means the financial size) of the estate and other factors. Don't confine your research and considerations to only wills, however. Revocable trusts can be a wonderful alternative to a will since they never have to be probated, allowing your beneficiaries to have their inheritances faster and easier. Additionally, trusts are entirely private documents, unlike wills, which are public documents.
Get Expert Help
Once you have a general idea of how estates work in your state and have some ideas on how you want your estate to be settled, make an appointment to speak with an estate planning attorney. When it comes to something this important, blank forms from the internet will hardly be adequate, and you will be surprised at how valuable this personal advice will turn out to be.
Don't Just Stop with a Will or a Trust
While these two important facets form the main platform of estate planning, there is so much more to a comprehensive plan than that. Consider creating plans for dealing with end-of-life issues using various types of powers of attorney that can help you and your loved ones deal with incapacity and long term care strategies. Additionally, look into taking another heavy burden off your loved ones by pre-planning and making financial provisions for your funeral and burial.
While uncommon, it's much better to have contingency plans for the following circumstances ahead of time:
- Both you and your spouse pass away at the same time.
- A child precedes you in death.
- Appointing an alternate executor to step in if the appointed person refuses the task or cannot serve due to medical issues.
Speak to an attorney or visit a website like http://www.linskylaw.com to learn more.