Although planning for the end of one’s life is not a pleasant task, it is an important one. And estate planning is not only for the wealthy; anyone with any assets should consider it. You can start your search for an estate attorney on DexKnows. These basic steps will serve as a guide when you consider how you wish your estate to be handled after your death.
Consider how you wish your assets to be distributed after your death.
Do you have family members with special circumstances who may depend on financial support from your estate? Are there charities you wish to help through your estate plan? Who do you want to care for your minor children in the event of your death?
Find an attorney who specializes in estate planning.
Even if your plans are seemingly simple, this is an important step. A professional will know how to write your plan in the way that legally achieves the goals you want. Remember that a will may not be the only piece of your estate plan; your attorney will be able to help you choose what other tools will be of use to you.
Ask your attorney about ways to maximize your assets after death.
Probate – that is, the administration of a person’s estate – can be lengthy and expensive. However, with careful planning, you may be able to avoid it. A trust may be useful in ensuring that your estate is distributed according to your wishes.
Discuss your plans with family members.
Sitting down to explain your wishes may help avoid hurt feelings and family arguments after your death.
Tips & Warnings
- If you die intestate – that is, without a will – your estate will be distributed according to the laws in the state where you resided. This could mean your assets will not be handled the way you’d like.
- Once you draft a will, be sure to review it every year to ensure that it still reflects your wishes in light of current tax laws or family situations.
- Keep a record – and make sure family members know where to find it – of the location of wills, insurance policies and other important documents. It is also a good idea to tell family members about your funeral and burial preferences.
Did You Know?
- Abraham Lincoln died without a will, the only U.S. president to do so.
- Famous for his charitable deeds, baseball great Babe Ruth used his estate plan to benefit destitute children through the Babe Ruth Foundation.
- When billionaire real estate investor Leona Helmsley died, she left millions to her Maltese, Trouble.
- Look in the local Dex listings for an attorney who can set up a living will or trust for you and your family.