We live in a world where there are so many uncertainties, like how long one would be alive. What happens to all your properties when you are gone? Who would take care of them?
With estate planning, you need not worry about all that, your children or extended relatives won’t have to fight over what you’ve worked so hard to acquire.There are documents, however, which must be in place to guarantee a smooth estate planning.
You don’t want your assets to run into the wrong hands now, would you? A Will, a Trust, Power of Attorney, and a few others are the documents you need to carry out estate planning. These documents are authentic and will determine the future of your properties.
What Is Estate Planning?
You may feel emotional making such plans, but it is expedient. Estate planning is simply the practice of determining who gets what. Who gets the house, the cars, the companies, the accounts, etc. after you’re gone.
If you have no beneficiary or heir or family, it is also a good avenue to determine whichever charity organization you want to claim your assets.
Why is Estate Planning Important?
Estate Planning is not only for the rich, anyone can carry out estate planning for any property he has. It might be for a piece of land, or a car, or even an old artifact. The importance of estate planning is for your family members to know which of your properties is left in their care and inform them of your assets’ existence.
A lot of families are in jeopardy now because of conflicts as regards properties. Estate planning will reduce such strife and crisis. Estate planning also helps prevent your assets’ unnecessary tax burdens on those you would leave behind.
Documents Needed For Estate Planning
Your loved ones would remember you better if you share your assets properly. Estate planning is very easy when you employ the best legal counsels. These legal practitioners ensure that you prepare the appropriate documents and that your family gets whatever you assign to them. Here are 5 essential documents you need for the perfect estate planning;
#1. Wills and Probates
A Will is a testamentary document declaring who would inherit any of your assets, including pets, in your demise. In your will, you would name an executor to ensure strict adherence to your directions. A probate is legal permission from the court to execute your properties in the absence of a will.
Here, the Probate Court will name an executor based on its discretion. Your Will is very important because it bears the future of your properties. You can also state whomever you want as a guardian to your children through your Will if they are still minors.
#2. A Trust
A trust is an arrangement wherein you name a Trustee (your spouse, family member, or legal officer) to manage your properties. The Trustee bears the responsibility of distributing your properties while you’re living and after your demise. The Trustee can also provide a savings plan to cover for taxes.
#3. Absolute Power Of Attorney
This document allows you to choose someone to represent you financially and legally. In the event of incapacitation, this person makes decisions in your name and in your best interest. A durable healthcare Power of Attorney is another document that enables you to select a person who would make medical decisions if you’re very sick and unable to speak.
#4. Any Document With Provisions For Beneficiaries
You may have certain bank accounts, retirement plans, or insurance plans where you named beneficiaries who would take over your properties after your death. These accounts and plans will need to be part of your estate planning documents. You will also need to update them frequently.
#5. Letters And Other Documents
Apart from a Will, you can write simple letters expressing your love and affection for your loved ones. You can also state in the letter how you want your funeral rites to be. You can also give them specific instructions for your burial ceremony. Other documents are;
- Any divorce records
- Real estate deeds
- Stocks and bonds
- Birth and adoption certificates (if any)
- Various bank accounts and security details
- Insurance documents
- Pension/retirement documents
- Digital assets like social media accounts, cryptocurrencies, etc
It may be sad to plan ahead of your demise, but it is also good to know that your properties would be in good hands, and those you leave behind would be at peace. Estate planning is your best bet to secure your assets, and the documents above will guide you rightly.
Contact Candice O’Neil to set up your first consultation. Our legal team looks forward to helping you create the perfect plan for your family.