If you're in the process of preparing your estate plan, take the necessary steps to avoid problems down the road. The last thing you want is for your estate plans to contain errors that will delay the transfer of property to your loved ones. Here are four steps you need to take when planning your estate.
Plan for the Probate Costs
When it comes to estate plans, probate costs are often overlooked. One reason for this oversight is that most people simply forget about the probate process. However, lack of preparation can leave family members facing expenses that they're not prepared for. If you don't have those costs included in your estate plans, they'll come right out of your assets or your family will be forced to pay out of pocket for them. When you sit down to work out the details for your estate plan, take steps to ensure that the probate costs are covered.
Provide a Detailed Will
If you want to avoid hassles with your estate plan, provide a detailed will. It's not enough to simply list the beneficiaries. If there are people who you wish to leave out of your will, you should list them, as well. Listing the people you want to leave out, as well as your reasons for the decision, will make it more difficult for those individuals to contest your will. The more details you can provide in your will, the smoother the process will go once you pass. Also, if you create a new will, be sure to destroy the previous one. That way, there aren't multiple wills floating around when you pass away.
Assign Beneficiaries to Each Asset
If you have assets that you want to divide among your loved ones, be sure to assign beneficiaries of each item. Assigning a beneficiary to each asset that you have can help keep those items out of the probate process. Once you've assigned a beneficiary to each of your assets, make sure they're documented in your estate plan. It's also a good idea to let your beneficiaries know how you've divided up your assets.
Make Use of Revocable Trusts
When you're creating your estate plan, it's important that you make accommodations for those assets that can't be protected through the assignment of a beneficiary. Those items include houses, cars, and other big-ticket assets. To keep those assets out of the probate process, you'll need to make use of a revocable trust. Your revocable trust allows you to maintain ownership and control of your assets while still allowing them to transfer smoothly once you pass away.
Don't let mistakes delay the transfer of assets once you pass away. The tips provided here will help you create an estate plan that will work well for you and your loved ones. If you have questions or concerns about your estate plan, contact an attorney near you.
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