No one ever likes to talk about death, and you probably don't ever want to consider planning your estate. You probably realize it's important for you to do it, but getting motivated to do so is another story. But planning your estate is a great help to your loved ones, so it quite beneficial if you take the time to make sure everything is in order. Here are a few important things that you should know when planning your estate.
It only takes a couple of appointments with your probate lawyer to write your will. You need to know who you are dividing your assets up between, and you need to appoint someone to administer your estate. Your lawyer can help you with all of that, and the process is usually quite easy and relatively inexpensive.
Property like your life insurance policy and retirement accounts won't go through your estate if you have named beneficiaries, so have your lawyer work with you to ensure that those accounts have someone named specifically to inherit.
If you decide to not leave anything to your children, be sure to note that in your will. Otherwise, they may contest the will, which can sometimes turn into a long, drawn-out process.
It's important to know that recipients only pay tax on money they inherit through tax-deferred retirement plans. Only about .14% of people in the United States pay estate taxes, so chances are your estate won't have to. However, if you are concerned about your estate paying taxes, it's best to confer with your lawyer and with a good financial adviser.
You can save your family from a lot of unnecessary fighting if you are specific when leaving parts of your estate in your will. Things that are not necessarily valuable in terms of money, but have high emotional value are really the items you should be bequeathing specifically. For example, you may have a ring that belonged to your great-grandmother, and your daughter has always adored it. Bequeath that ring to her, otherwise she may have a hard time getting her hands on it.
Lastly, it's not a bad idea to set up a living will. A living will is a document that will outline the medical treatment that you wish, or don't wish, to receive should you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to make those types of decisions. This document will appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf.