5 Ways to Properly Plan Your Estate
There is a good chance you have not made all the provisions needed to properly plan your estate, that you have questions about your estate plan. That is why you need to work with a law firm that focuses on estate planning.
Poor estate planning can lead to a myriad of problems, such as unnecessarily being responsible for large tax bills, setting up families for expensive legal battles, and inadvertently neglecting to pay an inheritance to loved ones.
Most people have at least something they want to leave to heirs. As such, if you are among this group, it is imperative that you consider the following factors when crafting an estate plan with the help of an attorney.
- Store your plans in an accessible location.
According to the 2018 Wells Fargo Elder Needs Survey, many respondents indicated they want help with their estate planning. Forty percent do not have their important documents in place that will ensure their financial health if they are dying or incapacitated.
The days are gone when you could keep all your financial information in a box under the bed. Contemporary technology allows you to store your plans securely online. By simply providing your login information, loved ones can access this information regardless of where they live. This is not the case for wills, for which you will need the original.
- Ensure you are properly naming beneficiaries.
When it comes to planning retirement accounts and insurance policies, it is important to name a contingent beneficiary. This person is designated by the contract holder as the one who should receive the assets if the primary beneficiary is deceased. Naming of the contingent beneficiary is imperative when dealing with insurance contracts and retirement accounts. However, if there are minor children involved, it may be necessary to establish a testamentary trust to insure the funds otherwise going to a minor child are appropriately protected.
If such a person is not named, the assets are held by the estate. Because the estate may owe money to creditors or be subject to probate, the estate being the default beneficiary is not ideal.
Because improperly naming beneficiaries can be so threatening to your estate, it should be one of the main mistakes you avoid. Correctly naming beneficiaries for titling trusts and other assets is a must.
- Make a molehill out of a mountain.
Thinking about everything involved in estate planning can be intimidating. Instead, divide large to-do lists into manageable segments that won’t dampen your motivation. Create a list of the most important parts of your estate plan in order of significance. Then, work your way from highest priority to lowest.
The three* key forms everyone should have in place are:
- A will;
- A durable power of attorney for financial matters;
- A health care directive; and
- A power of attorney for health care.
*Some people may also want a health care directive, also known as a living will.
Now that the key forms are identified, itemize the tasks for each one by one. You will maintain your motivation and not feel overwhelmed.
- Keep your plans up to date.
Often individuals delay these responsibilities because they don’t feel the urgency. Establish a deadline for reviewing your estate plan with your family. When you receive prompts from your attorney or the online platform housing your plan, update your documents quickly. Also make sure to update your login credentials as needed.
- Convey your wishes to your loved ones.
No one wants to face their own mortality. Most people don’t speak with their family about what needs to be done after passing away. That is coupled with over 70 percent of Americans, according to Wells Fargo, preferring to keep their finances a private matter.
Speaking with your family doesn’t make your passing more likely to occur. Just talking about these issues will help you be more prepared when these events happen.
Work with the Best Team of Estate Planners in Summerville, South Carolina
Whether you are in your 30s, 50s or beyond, it is best to have a strong estate planning strategy in place. The team of experienced Summerville lawyers at Shelbourne Law are eager to help with all your estate planning needs. Contact us today for help.