There are some essentials of estate planning when it comes to protecting yourself, and your family members. If your affairs aren’t in order, not only will your loved ones bear the burden, but they could possibly bear a financial burden, and potentially argue with other family members during their most difficult times. These are the steps you should take when contacting a trusted estate planning attorney.
Many people don’t like thinking about drawing up a will, mainly because they’re thinking it signifies end of life. But even young people should have one, and you don’t need to be wealthy to have one either. It’s important to have one if you have children, and to name an executor of your estate.
Speak with your knowledgeable estate planning attorney about establishing a trust. Either a living trust, or an irrevocable trust. This will help your family members avoid having to go to probate court, it can also help to protect them from paying inheritance tax. If beneficiaries aren’t capable of handling finances, it can protect them from spending too much at once. There are many benefits of setting up trusts.
As time goes on, people change, life changes. It’s important to keep your beneficiaries up to date. This means on 401k plans, bank accounts, insurance policies, and your wills and trusts. People get married, divorced, have children. Be sure to review your designations for life changes at least every two years.
Keep your paperwork in order, and even better yet, have it in a place where your executor knows where they are. This means your tax returns, insurance policies, mortgage information, health insurance, creditors, doctors, lawyers, accountants, brokerage information. They should all be easily accessible.
Keep originals in a safe place that isn’t a safety deposit box. Often a safety deposit box can be sealed by the state when someone dies. And when they’re home, they could be damaged. So keep it with your experienced estate planning attorney, and even make a digital copy just to be safe!
Wood, Seitl and Anderson is a law firm serving Sarasota, Venice, and surrounding areas. We and focus on Probate, Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Trust Administration, and Federal Estate Tax planning. Contact us today!