No one really likes to think about death — especially their own. However, if you have any assets, it is important you do some type of estate planning. Without estate planning prior to your death, it can leave your loved ones without a way to pay for your final expenses and other household bills that need to be taken care of. Here are three things to keep in mind as you go through your estate planning.
1. Probate can be avoided.
When a person leaves their assets to others after they pass away, it all usually has to go through a lengthy probate process before anyone is free and clear to take possession of the asset(s) in question. Probate is just the legal process that validates or invalidates the will of the deceased. If you don't like the idea of your loved ones having to wait through probate, there are ways you can ensure they avoid it altogether, including:
- Living trust
- Joint ownership
- Pay-on-death accounts and registration
If you would like to use any of the ways to help your loved ones avoid probate after you pass away, discuss all of your options with your estate planning attorney, like one from Sever Law Office. They can guide you to the best choices to ensure your loved ones can take immediate possession of your assets without the need of waiting through probate.
2. Make funeral arrangements part of the process.
If you have very specific wishes for your funeral, such as you want to be cremated and something specific done with your ashes, you really need to consider putting that in a legal document during your estate planning. Even after you pass away, you should be able to say what is done with your remains and a legal document is the only way to ensure that. You might think your loved ones will do as you wish without getting your lawyers involved, but that is not always the case. It is best to err on the side of caution and have your estate planning attorney draw up the document stating what should be done with your remains after you pass away.
3. Your will should seek to comfort, not create conflict.
One thing every person planning their estate should keep in mind is, while you may be gone when it is enforced, your loved ones will have to live with it for the rest of their lives. If you have more than one child, try to distribute your assets evenly. Maybe even discuss the estate planning with your children, if they are old enough, to see which of your assets they would be happiest with. After all, your will should help comfort them after you pass away - not cause your loved ones even more pain for the years to come.