To enjoy a level of peace of mind, you should without hesitation start making preparations for your estate plans. Estate plans ensure that your assets in which you have acquired over working years are secured and protected. Also, to ensure easily transition of any asset or estate to desired beneficiaries, you need an estate plan.
However, you don’t wait till when you are over 50 or 60 years to start making your plans. The right time is now. Why would you wait that long to have an estate plan? Why would wait that long to protect your families and desired beneficiaries? And lose you assets. No matter what financial or medical situation you may be in, once you consider yourself in any of the following categories, then you should make estate plans. You own and manage one or more businesses, you have minor children or you don’t have any children, you have a disabled family member, or you have one or more health issues, you are married, divorced or in a second marriage etc.
Estate planning involves making important decisions and plans over your future and that of your loved ones. It decides what happens to your assets both while you are alive and well or dead, how you want to share your assets to family, children or spouse, who takes over making certain important decisions for you in cases of mental incapability and lastly transfer of ownership of a property. These plans can only be presented, documented and implemented in wills and testament, living trust, revocable or irrevocable trust, advance medical directives and lastly financial power of attorney (power of attorney).
Although, to ensure peace of mind, you need to plan with an estate planning lawyer. This would ensure you are in the right direction with your plans.
What happens when you die without an estate plan?
When an individual dies without leaving instructions regarding his or her estate, then the State in which he or she had lived or owned assets would have to step in to decide what happens to those assets. There are probate laws known as laws of intestacy which influence the court’s decision on how such assets would be distributed. These intestacy laws recognize the closest surviving relatives of the decedent as the bona-fide heirs to the estate, therefore the estate would go to your spouse and kids (if they be alive), in proportions fixed by the state. The downside to this is that, those who you want financially cared for would not receive a dime from your estate so long they do not belong to your immediate family. Also, that loving child of yours whom you desire to have received the largest portion of your estate may not get to do so, as long as these proportions are already fixed by State laws. Also, your minors would not get their inheritance until they attain the age of 18. Intestacy laws vary from state to state and as such, there is need for a surviving family of a deceased to hire an estate planning lawyer in the state or county which the decedent had resided.
Assets to be transferred into your estate plan documents
Major estate plan documents include, Last Will and testament, living trust and power of attorney. All these documents can be used to protect you assets and also transfer them to desired beneficiaries. The following can be placed in an estate document.
- Real estate
You can transfer your estates into a living trust of an estate document plan, although, a new deed must be made with the local real estate records. It is important to note that certain tax transfer forms will have to be filed along with the deed. It’s good you consult an estate attorney before delving into these waters.
If the house or apartment being transferred is subject to a mortgage, then the mortgage bank must be notified to obtain its approval. If not, then the full mortgage must be paid since the transfer was unauthorized.
- Bank and brokerage accounts
Banks and brokerage companies all have their forms and requirements for transferring accounts into trusts. These requirements or rules must be properly investigated before completing the transfer.
- Clothes, jewelries, company or business ownership. Etc.
No matter the financial or medical situation you are in today, contact an estate lawyer to help you solve one of your most important task in life, which is planning for the future, yours and that of your family.