Planning your estate
As a review, estate planning dictates what happens to your assets once you are incapacitated or pass away (check out Beginner’s Guide to Estate Planning Part One and Two). Making your wishes known doesn’t necessarily have to be complicated or expensive. Most people are familiar with wills. You can type one up yourself or buy a kit, but if you have children or a lot of assets, financial planners almost always recommend consulting an attorney. If your estate is simple and you decide to do it yourself, know that most states require that wills be typewritten, name an executor and be signed by two witnesses who are not beneficiaries.
Keep in mind that wills, even those prepared by attorneys, go through court (probate). Probate can be time consuming, stressful for your family and costly to your estate. Consider consulting an estate planner about alternatives to wills. Some options avoid probate and certain taxes.
Wills only go into effect upon your death, so they’re not much help if you become incapacitated. If that happens, your case will go through living probate and the court will appoint someone to handle your affairs. If you die without a will (intestate), the state will decide who gets your money, your valuables, even your children.
In case you need another reason to complete your estate planning, here are 7 ways that estate planning can provide you an opportunity save, reserve and preserve your family relationships, your wishes and your assets.
Estate planning can:
1. Save your family financial and emotional strain.
2. Designate a personal guardian for minor children.
3. Provide for children with special needs.
4. Reserve funds for college.
5. Preserve a family business.
6. Ensure that money, valuables and family heirlooms go to the people you want to have them.
7. Provide an opportunity to plan your charitable requests
Even though it can feel like a hassle, it is always worth taking the time and trouble to complete your estate planning ahead of time so you get the final say on how your family, assets and property are treated.
If you have any questions or would like a referral to a qualified estate planner in the Twin Cities area, contact Willwerscheid Funeral Home & Cremation Service today.