Estate planning is as important as life planning because it determines how your assets will be distributed to your legal heirs. It is for everyone, for small and big families, for people with small asset value or those with substantial one.
While it ensures that the wealth will not go in wrong hands, it also prevents inheritance-related disputes in your family. Smart people, therefore, are willing to invest in estate planning to get things in order while they are alive.
But whether you have professionals to plan it or do it yourself, the key is to do it effectively and have every aspect of inheritance covered.
Of course, it can be a major expense considering the lawyer fees and documentation involves, but the cost is absolutely justified. On the other hand, DIY requires a good deal of research but still leaves you at risk of not doing everything right. Let us list a few tips to ensure that it is done effectively for you.
Table of Contents
Start with comprehensive research
To begin with, you need to understand what estate planning is all about, why it is needed and what needs to be done to have an effective strategy.
Browse the internet, read some related books, talk to professionals and get advice for acquaintances that have already done it. Gather information about what would work for your specific circumstances, the family size, asset value and any other special considerations.
Take your family in confidence
Another important tip for effective estate planning is by taking your family in confidence and telling them what you plan to write in your will. The best way to do plan the asset distribution is amicably, with everyone agreeing to it. However, if there are some members who are likely to create disputes or you would want to oust from your will, keep them out.
Plan for the event of your incapacity
A general notion is that estate planning is only about clarifying your decision about the way your assets are to be distributed after your death. However, it also enables you to plan the control of your assets in case of your incapacity rather than death. This ensures that you have someone trustworthy looking after your property when you are not in a position to do it yourself.
Choose a professional lawyer
Decide whether you would want to do your estate planning by yourself or have a professional handle the same for you. In case of a simple estate, you can seek the help of a knowledgeable friend or relative while professional management is absolutely needed for more complex cases.
You can check out the best estate planning software to get an idea about the documentation part of the process. The software not only helps for DIY planners but is used by lawyers as well.
Consider medical and financial power of attorney
Estate planning is not just about the disbursal of assets to your heirs. You can also include a medical and financial power of attorney to empower someone to take crucial medical and financial decisions on your behalf in case of your incapacity. These are critical factors that can lead to disputes between family members unless you have things cleared out in your documents.
Review the plan periodically
Planning your estate is not a one-time thing because situations change with time; there may be new members that you may want to include or some that you may intend to leave out subsequently.
Also, new assets purchased over the years may require the plan to be tweaked. So it is best to review the documents periodically and update them according to the changing needs.
Ensure that the heirs know where the documents are
Once you have your documents done, you should keep them at a safe place- at your home vault or with the lawyer. A bank locker is not recommended because getting them out will not be possible for your heirs without your will. Inform them about the place where the papers are kept so that they can be accessed when needed.
Inform them about all other key asset-related information
Your beneficiaries should also have complete information related to your tangible assets and finances. The financial information includes the particulars of your bank accounts, pension account, life insurance and brokerage accounts. Share the contact information of your wealth managers, insurance agents, attorney, CPA and bankers as well.
Managing your estate well during your lifetime gives you peace of mind and ensures that your wealth will be utilized and inherited by the right people. Moreover, you can also cover the tax planning with it so that your heirs need not encounter tax-related hassles when they inherit your property.
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