Estate plans are an important part of your end-of-life plan. This is not something you should neglect. Not utilizing an estate plan can lead to issues or confusion about your wishes and desires when it comes time to distributing your estate or allow the state’s distribution statutes to control instead of your wishes. This can also cause a lot of emotional stress for your family.
We hope that when you are reading these tips you start to make sure your estate is distributed in the way you want.
Building a team
It is especially important that everything is put in place to maximize your beneficiary’s inheritance and reduce the burdens that may come with it. When you come to LaCourse Law we have experts in estate planning that can cross every T and dot every I.
We can help you make sure that your assets are distributed to the people or organization of your choice with as little confusion as possible. It is important to make a clear and concise estate plan, so all your wishes are met, as you want them met. Having an experienced attorney can help things go a lot smoother.
Making your wishes known
Your final desires for your assets and any dependents should be spelled out in your estate plan. Otherwise your estate will go to probate court where a judge will decide certain matters on your behalf if you do not have a solid plan.
Including the following estate planning documents in your end-of-life strategy will lower the likelihood that your assets will go through probate:
- Directive for advanced healthcare: An advanced healthcare directive, sometimes referred to as an advance directive, or a DNR, is a legal document that provides direction on medical procedures and healthcare services. A living will and a healthcare power of attorney are two documents that are frequently included in an advance healthcare directive.
- Long-term durable power of attorney: If you are unable to make financial choices for yourself, a durable financial power of attorney (POA) enables someone or something else to act on your behalf and in your name.
- Last testament and will: A last will and testament is a legal document that states what you want to happen to your belongings and dependents when you pass away. You can choose an executor of your estate, name guardians for minor children, and specify your beneficiaries throughout the will planning process. Your chosen executor will be in charge of enforcing your will’s instructions.
A will, can sometimes confused with an estate strategy, although an estate plan offers a comprehensive strategy for your loved ones and possessions after your death, a will still plays a significant role in your overall plan.
If you have minor children, you can designate a guardian for them if you and the other parent die.
Think of having a living trust
A living trust, which specifies who will inherit your assets after your death, is a similar option to a final will and testament. When the agreement is completed, you transfer the trust ownership of your belongings. You will still have total authority over and control your assets with a trustee you name taking over for you in the event of your your incapacitation or death. The trustee still must honor the terms of your trust.
The fact that assets held in living trusts go directly to beneficiaries without going through probate court is only one of its key advantages. For your loved ones, this could save time and financial resources.
Take out a policy on life insurance
Having a life insurance policy, which will provide benefits to your designated beneficiaries upon your passing, can help you take care of your loved ones even after your death.
Verify that the names of your beneficiaries are accurate and current.
Verify again that the beneficiaries listed in your will, trust, or life insurance policy are accurate and current.
Think about providing directions for your remains.
Funerals are among the biggest out-of-pocket expenses following a death, so planning your own in advance might help your loved ones avoid excessive spending. You can prepay for your funeral or open a bank account that is payable-on-death for this purpose. Do not forget to mention your preferences for the body’s disposition, such as burial or cremation.
Donating your body and organs is something else you might wish to mention in your end-of-life documentation.
Keep your estate plan documents in a secure location.
After putting in the effort to organize your estate planning documents, it is important to make sure they are stored securely, so that your POA or executor knows where to find them.
We hope that these tips and tricks allow you a little more comfort in your estate planning process. If you are still thinking about an estate plan or want more information, give our office a call at (918) 744-7100 or visit www.lacourselaw.com for more information!