Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to estate planning.
Estate planning is something everyone needs.
An estate plan can help you decrease expenses and stress for your loved ones after you have passed.
One of the most basic elements of estate planning is your assets.
According to an article in The Chicago Daily Herald titled “Estate planning basics and avoiding probate with a living trust,” listing your assets is a good way to start your estate planning.
Decide what you want to happen to these various assets when you are no longer around to enjoy them.
Next, work with this professional to create your will.
A will is foundational to estate planning.
It directs the court regarding who gets what, when and how in your estate probate proceeding.
What is probate?
Probate is the legal process of distributing your assets to your heirs.
All probate records are public.
How long does it take?
Probate typically lasts anywhere from four to six months.
If you fail to create a will, probate can be expected to take longer.
Will all assets be subject to probate?
Certain assets with named beneficiaries will pass directly to the individuals designated.
These include life insurance, IRAs, annuities, 401(k)s and accounts with payable on death or transfer on death designations.
Also, if an assets is owned jointly with one or more others, the surviving owner(s) will continue with uninterrupted ownership and possession.
Would you prefer to keep your estate transfer mostly private?
You may consider a living trust as part of your estate plan.
Like a will, a living trust directs its trustee regarding who gets what, when and how.
However, it is distinctly different from a will.
It is private.
Contact an experienced estate planning attorney to help you determine whether probate or probate avoidance makes sense given your unique circumstances.
Either way, your loved ones are certain to appreciate the fact that you had a well-designed estate plan when the inevitable time comes.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: (Chicago) Daily Herald (December 22, 2016) “Estate planning basics and avoiding probate with a living trust”