Death is a part of life, even though we try not to dwell on it. So, we must make adequate preparations for our loved ones while still in good health. Securing your real estate is one of the biggest preparatory steps. And for that, you need a credible estate planning lawyer.
An estate may come to your mind as a vast, 200-acre property packed with rare artifacts. But in truth, your estate includes all you possess. It has your houses down to your clothes.
The first step in the estate planning guide is identifying the assets and your plans. For example, do you want to leave them to your partner, your kids, or for charity? However, knowing where to begin and the papers you need for estate planning may take a lot of work.
This article will help you figure out what assets you should include in your estate plan and in what ways an estate planning lawyer can help. Make sure you keep reading.
Estate Planning vs Will
Most people often mistake a will for estate planning. Indeed, a will is a legal document that defines your final desires about your assets. It includes;
- The person that will run your business in case you have one.
- The person to inherit some or all your assets.
- The person in charge of taking care of your children after your death; if they are still minors.
- The appointed executor ensures your desires get fulfilled.
On the other hand, estate planning goes beyond asset allocation after your death. For example, if you ever become disabled, it instructs your loved ones on how you want your assets and healthcare handled.
Also, it is a complex process that uses several documents, of which a will is one.
These papers are vital for estate planning under the estate planning law to aid in managing and transferring assets. The process can get done during sickness or after death. Below are some of these documents;
- A power of attorney (POA): POA is one of the documents needed under estate planning law. And it’s vital to draft a POA so that an attorney or someone you choose can act in your place if you cannot.
Using this paperwork, you could grant your agent the right to manage certain legal matters. They can also pay your taxes and other bills on your behalf.
The POA rights can only get revoked by the principal when they are capable of doing things themselves.
- The Letter of Intent: Simply put, a letter of intent is paperwork sent to your heir or executor. The letter aims to specify what you wish to happen to a specific asset after your passing or incapacity.
In certain letters of intent, you can add special wishes or details of how you want to get buried.
Although most people don’t consider the document legally valid, it can help a probate judge understand your desires.
It can also aid your asset allocation if your will is later found to be defective for whatever reason.
- Beneficiary Designation: This is the most vital document. Everything about estate planning deals with the transfer of your assets.
You can write the name of your child, partner, or worker. But when picking an heir, it is also best to have a contingent beneficiary. The reason is that sometimes the sole beneficiary may pass away before you do, and you may need to remember to make changes.
Note that the court will take over sharing your assets if your estate plan still needs to have these documents. Most times, the court will share it outside what you intended.
Assets to Include in Your Estate Planning
Taking note of your main assets is the first thing you need to get done. Realizing what you have will help you make decisions and ensure you get all the benefits.
Below are the most common assets to include in estate planning.
Real Estate and Personal Assets
If you own a house or any other type of real estate, it should be obvious who gets it after your passing.
It is precisely the case if you live in your main home with your spouse and kids. You can also lay out how the house’s occupants will share ownership if you’d like.
However, real estate transfers can be hard, especially if the property location is abroad. To reduce issues that can occur during property transfer, you should work with an attorney to create the ideal estate plan.
You can give them to specific beneficiaries for personal property with high worth, such as automobiles, jewels, and art collections.
For example, for a collectible automobile you know two of your sons will love to have, you can state that each of them should get one.
A cash asset is the most vital asset to include in your estate planning. That way, your family members will be fully aware of the whereabouts of the funds set aside for any unpaid bills.
These unpaid bills could include charges for medical care, burial costs, and, if applicable, probate fees.
Naturally, all these debts can get paid off by your loved ones from the money they inherit. But making it plain where and how your loved ones can access this cash for these purposes will make things easier for them.
After paying the bills, you can indicate what you have in your savings or money market account and specify who should get the cash there.
Even if it’s a little firm or one with few assets, if you own a portion or the entire firm, it needs to get included in your estate planning. Remember that businesses have worth and even possess assets of their own.
Consider leaving your business to a specific family member if you are aware of their interest in running it. As a result, it will reduce the conflict and enable a seamless transfer of ownership.
However, If you don’t want your company to continue after your passing, you could specify that it should get dissolved. As such, your assets will get sold, and the revenues will get shared evenly with your heirs.
Estate planning involves more than deciding how to split your assets after death. It ensures your family and other beneficiaries get sorted out and have access to your assets.
It can be in the event of your short or long-term absence. On that note, there are various assets that you can include in your estate plan. It includes real estate and personal, monetary, and business assets.
So ensure to work with an expert estate planning lawyer to prepare the needed documents under the estate planning law. Also, the lawyer will include all your assets in your estate plan.
By doing so, your family will get the care they need in your absence.