Estate planning is not only for the wealthy.
If you have saved enough for your family, you can start planning how your assets will be distributed. If you passed on without a plan in place, it would likely cause stress and frustration to your surviving heirs.
A comprehensive estate plan covers a lot of ground–from your assets, guardianship, financial, medical, and more. If you have no idea how to plan your estate, here are some tips to get you started:
Create an inventory of your assets and state exactly what you want to happen to them upon your passing–a will. Appoint an executor or personal representative. Include in the will who’ll get your home, vehicle, business, and other tangible and intangible assets.
If you have children, it’s also important to put down who’ll gain custody of the minors. It should be a trusted family member, relative, or anyone you see fit if something happens to your spouse.
Assess your current situation to see if you may need the assistance of a Denver probate attorney. While estate planning doesn’t necessarily need probate, there may be complicated matters that only a professional can handle.
The following are the best times to call for a probate lawyer:
Ensure that you’re naming the right heirs for who you want to get a specific asset, such as your home. Check your life insurance policies, retirement accounts, pensions, and brokerage accounts to update beneficiaries if needed. For instance, it would be a mess if your ex-spouse is still included among the principal beneficiaries instead of your current spouse.
Also, take note to include contingent beneficiaries in case something happens to any of your primary heirs.
It’s important to create a living will that contains directives in advance should you fall into a state of health deterioration, physically and/or mentally. A living will instruct the executor, family member, and physicians what you wish in health care. It’s typically created along with your last will.
You may also want to give a trusted person medical power of attorney who’ll make medical decisions for you if you’re not well enough to make them independently. Include your end-of-life wishes to help your executor or family decide if you want a burial or a cremation.
Anything that likely holds sentimental value rather than monetary should also be included in your trust or will. Some families hold such items as furniture, art pieces, jewelry, and heirlooms valuable. Name specific people in your will who’ll get each collection of items. You may want to produce a separate document for it, especially if you’re working with a probate attorney. Making changes to the estate plan can be costly if you have to do it over again.
The shares of the business will also need distribution once the sole owner of the business dies. Add key people that you trust in your will and award them portions of your company. You may also appoint a personal enduring attorney who’ll become a shareholder in your company and appoint a new director. Doing so will help ensure the future of your company and its employees.
Estate planning in advance while you’re in good health is essential whatever the future may hold. It will help ease your surviving heirs' stress while dealing with your sudden passing just in case. You also need to consider the right people who’ll handle your affairs if you can’t do them yourself. Ensuring that the rightful heirs get what they deserve is a priority as it'll guarantee their future.