Life is busy and requires non-stop planning to accomplish everything you need to do on a daily basis. We aren’t often prompted to plan as far ahead with our estate, but it’s much better to plan in advance than have your spouse, children, or siblings struggle to distribute and settle your estate with little to no instruction. Take some time and put thought to these five simple estate planning points.
Do You Have a Valid Will?
A will can be easily forgotten about if it was drafted decades ago. But it should be something you are mindful of because the law has the ability to change the validity of your will in ways you may not be aware of. Marriage will make an existing will null and void. This may not be a problem if you remain married to the same person at the time of your original will signing, but life happens and people get re-married. Having a will nullified by marriage is not a position you want to leave your estate in. Always have a valid and up-to-date will properly executed and readily available. It is best to seek legal advice when preparing a will.
Discuss Your Will and Wishes
While you have the opportunity to, have discussions with family members about how you wish your estate to be handled. This leaves no room for question when you are gone and can settle some potentially serious disagreements in the future. Discuss any property you own and what you would like to have happen with it upon your passing.
Prepare Power of Attorney Documents
Although this does not form part of your estate, it is still an integral part of the planning. Having someone you trust and acknowledge to be in charge of your well-being in time of physical need is very important. Power of Attorney needs to be declared when you are fully cognizant of your decision and so should be dealt with while you are still in good health.
To do estate planning when you are a business owner who wishes to pass the business to their children often involves an estate freeze. This is when the value of your business is in effect frozen in time and any future capital growth will be to the benefit of your children. This tactic minimizes the amount of taxes due upon death.
Have Life Insurance
Life insurance is best purchased when you are young and healthy. The younger you are when the insurance is purchased, the longer it has to grow in value and interest. It is much more difficult to be approved for life insurance once illness and old age are in play so do this while you are young and healthy to ensure it’s there for your family at your passing.
There are many questions surrounding estate planning and the topic is always best discussed with an estate planning advisor. For further information on estate planning contact The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd.