Although every estate differs from the other in some ways, planning one is usually a complicated process. However, this doesn't mean that estate planning is a waste of time and resources. When you don't plan your estate, you cause emotional stress and unnecessary confusion to your family. Some people think that estate planning is meant for the wealthy, but this is a misconception you shouldn't entertain. As long you have some assets, no matter how few they are, it's crucial to give detailed directives on how they should be distributed to your beneficiaries.
Here are three tips to help you make estate planning as effective and less stressful as possible.
Make a List of Everything You Own
Most people work hard and invest in some assets. Unfortunately, they don't take stock of everything they own, especially the small assets. So when the time to plan their estate comes, they only list the bigger assets and forget the small ones. Make a list of the rental properties and vacation homes you own. Also, give clear details of all your insurance policies, annuities, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and bank accounts. Other items you may also need to take stock of include your jewelry, vehicles, collectibles, and other physical assets.
Seek Guidance from an Estate Planning Attorney
Estate planning may seem an easy task or process, but it involves a lot of things, including legal procedures. Usually, it's impossible to have a successful estate planning process without the right documents. And since you may not know all the documents you need when planning your estate, it's advisable to seek guidance from an estate planning attorney. Usually, trust and will are some of the critical documents you need when planning your estate.
A will usually describes how your assets will be distributed when you die and the care entitled to each dependent. And since it's more effective when done in writing, the attorney ensures you and the witness sign the will appropriately. On the other hand, a trust indicates the person designated to hold and distribute the assets to the charities and beneficiaries of your choice.
Name Those Who Will Implement the Estate Plan
After creating an estate plan, ensure you name a few individuals who will help implement it. The executor is perhaps the first person to consider. The executor ensures that all your wishes are carried out accordingly. They also oversee the settlement or distribution process to ensure every beneficiary gets what you wanted them to get.
It's also good to name a guardian—a person who will care for your dependents when you are gone. Actually, you can choose a close friend or relative for this role. A trustee is also an important person if you had created a trust. A trustee controls and manages the trust and makes disbursements according to your wishes. You can choose an individual or firm to serve as the trustee.
It's also crucial to update your plan, depending on the arising needs or changes. As you can see, estate planning is vital because it benefits both you and your beneficiaries. But due to the intricacies involved in the planning process, always get a competent estate planning attorney to help you plan it properly.
For more information on estate planning, contact an attorney in Charlottesville, VA.