Some Important Considerations When Doing Estate Planning

Depending on the number of assets you own, doing estate planning can be downright simple or strenuously complex. If you’ve accumulated tons of property over many years of hard work, preparing an estate plan can be quite challenging. There are many aspects and issues to consider which, if overlooked, can cause problems in the future once you’ve passed on.

This underscores the importance of talking to an attorney to help you out with it. He will evaluate your situation with an expert eye and then create a plan to suit your needs and specifications. Below are some of the things you need to discuss with your lawyer when preparing an estate plan:

Registration of accounts – Aside from the assets you own, you may also have several accounts with various financial institutions. One of the things you should do is to review if your accounts are properly registered with the person/s of your choosing. If you have a living trust, the accounts should also be registered in the name of the trustee.

Beneficiaries – This is one of the most important (perhaps the even the most important) of all the things you need to take into account when doing estate planning. This is because you’re making the plan primarily to designate who are the beneficiaries of your property and assets in the event that you pass away. You should also regularly update the plan to check if the beneficiaries you included there are still the ones you intend to bequeath your assets.

Durable Power of Attorney – Because of an illness or an accident, you can get incapacitated. You can anticipate for this eventuality by naming someone (even your attorney himself if you completely trust him) to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf. Executing a Durable Power of Attorney allows you to do name the person of your choice for such decisions.

Last Will and Testament – This is a legal declaration by which you designate a person (or more than one person if you so wish) to manage your estate after your death. This document also specifies how your property is going to be distributed once you’re gone. It ensures the proper transfer of certain assets in the manner you’ve specified.

Trusts – These are legal documents that permit you and your successor trustee in transferring assets to prior to and after your death. Trusts are generally composed of 4 elements: the grantor, the trustee and successor trustee, the property, and the beneficiaries.

These are a few of the most important things that you need to take into account when doing estate planning. Again, if you have a lot of property, it would be best to get a lawyer (and even a qualified tax adviser) to help you out with the planning to make sure you don’t miss out on any detail.

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