Making a will and planning your estate effectively takes time and effort. Many people avoid engaging in the practice of planning their estate because they do not want to spend too much time thinking about the inevitability of death. The prospect of death is a morbid topic, but planning your estate does not need to be. In fact, planning your estate can be an uplifting activity because you can plan how your assets will benefit others in the future.
Most people know that they need to do estate planning at some point, but they may simply put it off because they're not exactly sure when to begin. How soon will they need that plan? When do they want to get everything in order?
You have a child with special needs. You provide support and assistance right now, but you are very conscious of the fact that your child will need extra help when you pass away. You're considering leaving them the bulk of your money in your will, knowing your other children will understand.
When starting to think about estate planning, you will likely come to realize the importance of wealth protection. When wealth is not protected strategically, it can become subject to high tax rates at the end of your lifetime. Additionally, assets can be vulnerable to losses if poor financial decisions are made regarding other assets.
Wealth management professionals advise their high-net worth (HNW) clients to take some important steps when developing their estate plans to help ensure a seamless transition of their wealth to their heirs and beneficiaries. However, these steps are wise for just about anyone, even if your estate isn't in the millions of dollars.
When you're developing your estate plan, it's important to acknowledge challenging family dynamics that might cause conflicts after you're gone. Many people don't like to admit to their estate planning attorney -- or to themselves -- that their children don't get along or that their blended family isn't exactly The Brady Bunch. However, attorneys have heard it all. By knowing what your concerns are, they can help you develop a plan that will minimize conflict.
If you already have a will in place, congratulations! You're a step ahead of many Americans who never get around to writing one and leave their loved ones to deal with the courts as they settle their estate. However, it's essential to review your will and other estate planning documents on a regular basis -- at least annually -- to determine whether any changes are warranted.
As part of their estate planning, people often decide that they would prefer to give away some of their assets while they're still alive. This way, the recipient can enjoy the gift -- whether it's money or property -- right away, and the donor can see their gift is appreciated. If you're considering giving a gift of considerable value to a loved one or other recipient, it's important to understand the potential tax implications.
The task of cleaning out a loved one's home after their death can be daunting. However, don't throw away valuable items in your haste to get the home ready to sell. By "valuable," we don't necessarily mean the sterling silver place settings or the antique vases. We mean the things that have sentimental value for family members or perhaps things that no one knew about but had deep sentimental value to your loved one.
Doing your estate planning often means considering who will be the surviving spouse, what that means for the transfer of assets and the need for medical care, and how the assets will then get passed on to the rest of the family when the surviving spouse eventually passes away as well.