About 17% of adults don’t think they need a will, believing that estate planning is only for the very wealthy. However, no matter how few assets it seems someone owns, completing a few documents can make a huge difference in the future. Starting an estate plan for couples involves just a few easy steps.
valuewalk.com’s recent article, “Couples: Here’s How To Start The Estate Planning Process” notes that although estate planning can seem overwhelming, taking inventory of assets is a terrific place to start.
Make a list of all your belongings of $100 or more in value, both inside and outside of the home. After that, think about how these assets should be divided among family, friends, churches or charities.
Drafting a will may be the most critical step in the estate planning process. A will serves as the directions for how assets are to be distributed, which can avoid unpleasant disputes and is the first part of creating an effective estate plan for couples.
A will can simplify the distribution of assets at your death, and it also provides instructions to your family and heirs.
A will can also set out directions for childcare, pet care, or any additional instructions or specifications.
Without a will in place, your assets will be distributed according to state law, rather than according to your wishes. Creating a will keeps the state from making decisions about how your estate is divvied up—decisions you may not have intended.
Once you have your assets and beneficiaries set, see an experienced estate planning attorney and have your will drafted immediately. Hey, life is unpredictable.
Another important part of the process is to have a discussion with everyone involved to prevent any legal or familial disputes regarding the estate.
But one of the most misunderstood aspects of estate planning is the belief that having a will can help your family avoid probate after you’re gone. Nothing could be further from the truth. The best way to avoid probate is by having a living trust set up while you are alive. This trust can help you pass your assets to your family and friends without the expense or delay of probate.
Failure to start the estate planning process can lead to family fighting, misappropriated assets, court litigation and unneeded expenses. Get going! A perfect estate plan for couples can be done quickly and easily if you start now.
Reference: valuewalk.com (July 22, 2019) “Couples: Here’s How To Start The Estate Planning Process”