Death isn't something that most people want to think about, but, if you have accumulated a respectable amount of wealth in your lifetime, you owe it to your family to do some estate planning while you're still here. Solid estate planning can help ensure that more of your money goes to the people you want to distribute it to instead of the Internal Revenue Service or creditors. Here are 3 estate planning tips to help you get started.
Ensure That You Have a Will or Living Revocable Trust
Not taking the time to plan out a will or any other instructions to provide guidance can lead to chaos after your death. A will or living revocable trust can help give your family a clear roadmap to follow and is something that can be relied upon to help resolve any disputes.
Name an Executor From Outside the Family
If you anticipate that there might be some conflict within the family over your estate, one way you can help alleviate this is by appointing an executor or trustee from outside the family that you trust. A lawyer is oftentimes a good option but a close friend could also be a possibility, provided that friend can obtain legal assistance if necessary. Make sure your trustee is in solid health and a good bit younger than you. It might also be a good idea to appoint someone to have power of attorney for your medical decisions while you are still alive.
Use Your Spouse If Possible To Save On Estate Fees
If your spouse is still living, he or she can be named as the beneficiary for things like your 401K, IRA or life insurance policies. If these things pass directly to him or her instead of the estate, this can help your family save on probate fees or help you defer income and estate taxes into the future.
Estate planning can be a morbid subject and may not be something you've spent a lot of time thinking about. But you owe it to your family to ensure that the time immediately following your death can be used for mourning and not a bitter battle over the estate. For more information on estate planning, setting up a will or living revocable trust, and hiring an attorney you trust to serve as executor of your estate, check out http://www.lynnjackson.com, and rest easy knowing that your final wishes will be taken care of.