In order to protect assets and prevent family squabbles and misunderstandings after a person's death, a solid plan should be in place. To help with the complex legal issues that are involved, an estate planning attorney can offer their expertise and guidance. What is the best way to go about setting up this plan? Here are some tips:
♦ Know the components of a good plan. These components include a will, a power of attorney given to a trustworthy family member, and a living will that deals with medical issues should incapacitation occur. Every state has differing laws regarding these components. This is one area where legal advice is crucial.
♦ The will is an important document. This document spells out who gets what in terms of assets. It also names guardians of minor children. If there is no will, the situation can become a major headache for family members and heirs and an expensive one at that. With a bit of forethought and the help of a lawyer, a well thought out will can assure that assets go to the proper heirs without questions or quarrels.
♦ Size up assets beforehand. Assets include property such as land, real estate, vehicles, furnishings, jewelry and other family heirlooms. If there are business holdings, their divvying up should be pondered as well.
♦ Trusts may be a possibility. Not everyone knows what trusts are and may assume they are just something that the extremely rich have access to. This isn't true. Trusts are legal items that specify how assets will be doled out after a party is deceased. They can be protective devices against creditors, lawsuits and probate problems. Taxes may be reduced to heirs with trusts, as well.
♦ Many people choose to leave all of their money to their husbands or wives but this isn't always the wisest idea. Leaving some to children in the will may save taxes and hassle later. An attorney will help to devise the most advantageous estate plan possible.
♦ Charities contributions are another consideration. Many people have favorite charity organizations that could greatly benefit from generous cash injections. Examples include humane shelters for animals, Habitat for Humanity and a slew of others. Donating to charity can help to alleviate taxes, as well.
With the advice of a reputable estate planning attorney, financial assets can be distributed properly to loved ones in a manner that will alleviate headaches and strife for the surviving relatives. By planning today, tomorrow will be rosier financially and emotionally for the entire network of heirs.