You likely have some idea what estate planning is: the process of arranging your estate for the preparation for your passing.
However, estate planning isn’t so simple. There are a lot of questions you may have. This is what you should know:
1. Do you need an estate plan?
While many people pass away without an estate plan, there are often issues when this happens. The act of dying without a will is called intestate. When this happens, the state will step in to distribute assets according to the intestacy rules. While that sounds easy, it often means that the testator’s last wishes aren’t met.
2. When should you make an estate plan?
Estate plans can, typically, be made at any time. There’s often no better time than now to make an estate plan if you don’t already have one.
3. Can you update an estate plan?
Not only can you update an estate plan but you should consider doing it often. Estate plans can quickly go outdated and many testators accumulate more assets as the years go on. There may even be times when an heir needs added or removed, such as if there was a divorce, childbirth or a beneficiary death.
4. Is an estate plan only about asset distribution?
It’s commonly believed that estate planning is only about asset distribution. However, there’s so much more that can be added to an estate plan.
For starters, testators may include a child guardian designation in their plans. A child guardian can help care for the testator’s children if the testator suddenly develops a medical condition or suffers a fatal accident. Powers of attorney designations are also included in many estate plans. A power of attorney is an agent who acts on the behalf of the testator if they’re suddenly incapacitated. They may even be used for financial affairs.
5. Can you handle this job on your own?
Estate planning isn’t as easy as writing up a list of everyone who will inherit from you and what you want them to inherit. There are a lot of legal matters that you should be aware of. Reaching out for legal help with your estate plans is the only way to ensure that your wishes are followed and your family’s needs are met.