Is estate planning in your future? Let’s take a look at what you should do. Let’s face it, there will be a time when we are no longer here, or we are too sick to make decisions about what you’ve worked for. That is why we all need to make a plan ahead of time.
In this article:
Very simple, a declaration of what will happen when you are no longer here. This might seem like a simple plan but there are many considerations. Who will get your house, car, savings and most treasured memories? The law says that you must write your will in a sound mind. This means you can’t write a will if you are very sick, lacking conscious (coma) or mentally incompetent. If someone can prove that at the time of writing your will you were under duress or very stressed, your will could be contested. A contested will and testament is when a person or people challenge the validity of the document. Take your time when writing your will. Try to relax and trust your best judgment.
Can you write your own will?
The answer is yes. If you don’t have children and don’t have many assets, you can write your own will. Here are some suggested steps you may take:
You can have an executor, a person who will carry out your wishes. A relative, friend or lawyer. Be careful because this person is charged with your final wishes.
Someone who will keep your will in a safe place and will not divulge its contents
If there are to be any beneficiaries, they need to be clearly stated in the will. Simply said, who do you want to keep the things you hold dear? It could be a ring, a boat, a home or a letter written but never sent. Give these things to the people who will hold on to your memory.
Write about all of your assets in your will. Sometimes, something that you find trivial might be another person’s treasure. For example, that Heisman trophy you won or the world cup soccer championship trophy from your college days. The proof of your previous accomplishments might be a deep, very special memory for the person you leave it to.
- Power of Attorney (POA):
This is essential. Power of Attorney can be stipulated (specified) in many ways. You can give power of attorney for matters related to finance, health, legal and/or all the above. You can get a “POA” at your local state or regional government office. If you are overseas, you can get it at your Countries Embassy.
A living trust, sometimes known as an “inter vivos” or “revocable” trust bypasses laws in probate court. You can save attorney fees once a trust is established. Your property and/or possessions can be passed directly to your beneficiaries.
We must plan for the future of our children. Be it real estate, bank holdings, property or anything of value to you, there should be a plan. Without a plan, everything that you value will revert to the government.
- Life insurance:
Yes, we all need it but do we have it? Why pay money now for something we know is going to happen? The reality is, we are planning for our future and the future of our loved ones.
This is one you must be careful about. If one does not follow the state and federal tax laws carefully, your estate and or trust could be diminished. The recommendation here is to find a good attorney.
*** Addendum ***
No one, or at least most of us don’t want our life to come to an end, but it is a fact we all need to accept. Planning for the future is better than leaving up to chance.
Please take to heart the guidelines mentioned here and plan for the best. And let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.