Before Planning Your Estate, Learn These 5 Important Lessons

Did you know that, according to research conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, a shockingly low percentage of Americans have a healthcare directive specifying their end-of-life healthcare wishes? Even more stunning, less than half of adults in the United States have prepared estate planning documents, such as wills or living trusts, according to a study by Caring.com.

Estate planning is an incredibly important process that makes it much easier for your assets to be distributed to your beneficiaries after death. While it can be an uncomfortable subject to think or talk about, it is necessary to make these plans to ensure that your assets go where you want them to go. Here are some estate planning tips that you should know before sitting down to draft a will or form a trust.

  1. Understand what probate is and how it will affect your estate. The probate process is not without risks. It is an expensive process that can reduce the value of your estate, not to mention that it can take several years to complete. Also, note that probate is a public process, meaning that anyone who wants to can look into your estate and financial matters.
  2. It is important to have contingency plans for any unlikely scenarios, including ones that may happen after your death. To make sure you have planned for every possible scenario, you should make sure to discuss your estate plans with a qualified attorney.
  3. Assets can form a complicated web, meaning that it may be difficult for your family members and beneficiaries to untangle them when attempting to divide the estate. That is why consolidating your accounts and creating an asset roadmap can help your loved ones.
  4. Keep up to date on changes in tax law and how they may affect your estate. For example, the tax bill signed into law last year by President Donald Trump raised the estate and gift tax exemption. Speak to your attorney to figure out how this will affect you.
  5. Keep an eye on your plan as time goes on, especially after major personal life events.

If you wish to speak to an attorney about your estate plan, call (877) 422-5297.

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