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.
The new year is a time when people want to make positive changes to their lives. One that isn't thought of often but that should be is estate planning. Having your affairs in order when you pass away is one of the best things that you can do for your family members. Additionally, you will likely find that you feel more secure and at peace knowing that they are taken care of when you are gone.
One thing you have to decide when you are creating an estate plan is whether you need to set up trusts. If you decide that your heirs can benefit from having things placed in trusts so they are transferred easier when you pass away, you'll have to determine what types of trusts you need.
Your estate plan outlines who gets what when you pass away. It is imperative that you understand what your plan says and that it is up to date. You should review it at least once per year so that you can see that everything is set how you want it.
When you have any assets or loved ones, you need to think about creating a will. This document outlines what you want to happen to your possessions when you pass away. This might not be something that you want to think about, but it can help your loved ones to get everything settled after you pass away.