For those with significant assets, planning for what will happen to your estate and family after you’re gone is imperative to avoid heavy taxes and to protect future generations. But even those with a more modest net worth have substantial reason to make sure their estate plans are solid and strong. Legally binding estate plans allow you to determine exactly how your property should be distributed, reduce the odds of family discord, ensure that your minor children are cared for, and avoid unnecessary and lengthy court proceedings. A solid plan is simply the map you leave behind for your family to go on without you.
Here are Steps to making secure estate plans
Create a valid will
It’s a harsh reality, but most of us know that having a will is necessary. You need the will to make sure that the heirs you’ve chosen will receive the assets you specifically want to leave them. If you don’t create a valid will before you die, your property distributed according to state laws of intestacy. In the majority of states, that means your children and spouse will split all of your assets and your legacy if you wanted a friend to receive them instead.
Set up a living trust
Another way to establish secure estate plans is to set up a living trust. If your property held in a living trust, your heirs will be able to skip the expensive and time-consuming process in probate court.
Establish health care instructions
It’s also imperative to consider your personal health care wishes. Having instructions set up for your care is important if you’re incapacitated and unable to make your medical decisions. Establishing a medical directive such as a living will and medical power of attorney gives the authority to make decisions on your behalf
Designate financial power of attorney
For your finances, consider designating a durable power of attorney which will give someone you trust the authority to take control of your property and finances if you are unable. This person will handle all of your finances and is typically called an attorney-in-fact or an agent.
Name a personal guardian for minors
You should also name a trusted adult to manage any property or money that any of your minor children receive from you. This same person is typically also the personal guardian you designate for your kids in your will.
Settle funeral expenses
Lastly, you can save your loved ones additional stress if you make your wishes official as far as whether you prefer cremation or burial. You can also set up a funeral prepayment plan or account at your bank that will cover any funeral expense…