8 Essential Tips for Estate Planning

by Frank

Life is a very unique experience. There are many events in life that occur as planned, & events that happen at random. One of the best things that can be done to brace the randomness of life is to prepare & plan. That is one of the only factors that can be controlled.  Having a back-up plan for any emergency event is a wise decision. So, what happens to an estate if one were to pass away? Where would the wealth be distributed? What process will transpire? Those are questions that will arise if one were to pass without an estate plan. An estate is composed of everything owned by an individual. These belongings consist of bank accounts, vehicles, life insurance policies, homes, personal investments, & other possessions. The size of estate does not matter. It is wise to have an estate plan set in this lifetime. It is never too early. Life is unexpected, so it’s best to prepare for that.

It may seem like a huge task to prepare for estate planning, but there are many services out there. Estate planning may be done with or without an attorney for guidance. There are numerous companies that help develop estate plans. What are the best options? One must consider the size of estate, & the amount beneficiaries. Obviously, the larger the estate, the more it’s recommended to hire an attorney. Despite the estate size, an attorney or legal service would be the wisest route when planning an estate. Plan ahead, & learn about all aspects of estate planning.

Here are 8 Essential Estate Planning Tips:

1) Create a Will

What is a will? A will is a legal document that compiles requests regarding the distribution of an estate to the beneficiaries. An estate consists of personal properties, bank accounts, vehicles, investments & etc. A will establishes the likelihood that your aspirations are carried out. Having a will is arguably one of the most important factors in estate planning. There are numerous steps that can be taken to creating a will. One can create a will with an attorney. A lawyer is a great option because of the familiarity & experience in the subject. Another route that can be taken is using an online software service. This option is much more affordable than to hire an attorney, & is usually quick. Lastly, a will can be created & written. If you need legal assistance you can also find additional legal aid here and you can search for a lawyer here.

2) Life Insurance

What is life insurance? A life insurance policy is first & foremost a contract with an insurance provider. Life insurance is chosen based on the specific needs & goals of the policy holder. Payments are paid to the insurance companies in exchange for a lump-sum in return. The beneficiaries of the lump-sum are chosen by the life insurance policy holder. There are two types of life insurance policies: Term life insurance & universal life insurance. Term life insurance was created to grant protection for a period of time. This time frame can be anywhere from 10 0r 20 years. This type of insurance is relatively inexpensive compared to lifelong policies. The second type of insurance is universal life insurance. This insurance coverage is permanent & provides lifelong coverage. These policies are essential to having a great estate plan.

3) Establish Power of Attorney

What is a Power of Attorney (POA) & how does it benefit an estate plan? A Power of Attorney is a type of legal document that allows one to minister their right to conduct, devote and allocate assets. This is done in case of unexpected emergencies. This is also an important factor in have a great estate plan. Having a Power of Attorney established will insure some sort of safety net. Be sure to research local state laws on the subject manner. The laws vary. There are also other types of Power of Attorneys. The other two types of Power of Attorneys are Medical & Financial. POA has a key role in estate planning, so it’s important to find the proper service!

4) Avoid Probate

What is probate? A probate is the legal course where the will is authenticated & validated. When an estate owner passes away, the assets are split among the beneficiaries within the will. If there is no will present, the probate will go through an administrator. The process of collecting all the assets of the deceased will begin & the administrator will be in charge of contacting legal heirs. This is where it becomes tricky. If an estate plan is not set, legal heirs can have a quarrel over assets. To avoid a complicated probate, have a thorough & detailed estate plan.

5) Create a Trust 

A trust is another way to avoid the rigorous process that is probate. A living trust will help avoid probate. The beneficiary will typically have an easier transition to the assets. A trust will also limit any extra expenses & reduce the probate period. A living trust is also beneficial in the case that a contester to a will comes forward. Privacy also plays a key role in a trust. It is a private document between the parties & will NOT be public. A major benefit of the living trust is that it will not have to go through the probate process, as a will must do. There are many ways to create a trust. You can save time by using a legal service online or your personal attorney.

6) Advance Directives 

An Advance Medical Directive is a simple document giving directive power to an entity (person) over health decisions. For example, if one were to become very ill & decisions cannot be made, the advance directive appointee (power of attorney) will make the health decisions. The legal document is known as many different terms: medical power of attorney, health care power of attorney, & medical directive to name a few. One of the obstacles concerning medical directives are the local state laws. Consulting with an attorney can help ease this process. Having this legal document is key to well-thought out estate planning.

7) Memorial Service

Another key component to a good estate plan is having a memorial service plan. Many assume that family & friends know enough to plan a memorial without any physical document. That is not the case for many. To be certain, having legal documentation for memorial service plans is wise for proper estate planning. Leaving family with memorial service decisions can furthermore stress out the members. Having a legal document for memorial service plans allows exact specifications & an easier process after death. Another major benefit to having arranged memorial plans is to cut down costs. Funeral plans can be written or created without an attorney present. It would be wise to formerly create plan & hand it over to a trusted attorney or family member.

8) Funeral Service

Just like memorial service plans, having an arranged funeral plan is also a key component to estate plans. This will help the process for family members. The plan will eventually alleviate the tedious stress of planning while mourning. A funeral plan will ensure that wishes are granted for funeral arrangements. This will also specify whether cremation or standard burial is involved. These are all key elements on why it is beneficial to have this planned out. Imagine a family forced to make these decisions while mourning the death of a loved one. These decisions should be made now & could easily be done. A funeral plan can be written, or typed, & given to a trusted attorney or family member.