The Perfect Time to Begin Estate Planning –Before It’s too Late
Estate planning is one of those topics that is just really hard to start discussing. Some people are superstitious about it. Others feel a bit lost about the process.
How to start estate planning? Should you talk to a lawyer first or your family? If you have questions, you’ve come to the right place, because we have answers.
Learn How to Start Estate Planning
First, understand that having a will and other legal documents in place will take a huge burden away from your children, other family, and friends. They won’t have to spend lots of time and money going through the courts to determine what happens to your assets. In addition to a will, which you definitely need, consider setting up a trust. Trusts aren’t just for the very wealthy. Having a trust means that you can put certain conditions on how your assets are distributed. It can also reduce the amount of taxes your heirs have to pay.
Next, determine whom you want to carry out your wishes. It might be a family member or it might be an accountant or attorney. Your executor will have to file tax returns and deal with other paperwork. If you decide to go with a professional, negotiate their fee in advance.
Be sure your estate planning takes medical issues into account. You should assign power of attorney, a person who acts in your interest if you are incapacitated. In addition, draw up an advance medical directive (also called a living will). This will spell out your wishes if you have a terminal illness and are unable to communicate. Appointing someone to hold health care power of attorney is an important step to make sure your wishes are carried out. As with an executor of your estate, make sure you appoint someone who can cope with the demands of the role.
You will need to discuss inheritance with your heirs. This is a difficult topic, particularly if there is long-standing friction in the family. However, by having conversations with your heirs, you have time to iron out disagreements and make changes.
It’s true that estate planning and all the conversations around the necessary decisions are not easy. However, the sooner you start, the less stressful the process will be. Think of the process as a gift you give your family.