When planning for the future, we often think of things that we’ll be around for, such as a vacation, retirement, a wedding, etc. But what happens after you’re gone or have become mentally incapacitated? It’s not a fun thought for anyone, but taking the time to prepare your estate can save your loved ones from additional grief and stress down the line. Here are some important steps that you should take now to prepare for the future.
Are there people in your life that rely on you to take care of them financially? Having adequate life insurance in place can help alleviate the financial strain that can often accompany loss. This money can be used to provide for a family, pay funeral costs, or take care of other expenses.
PAY OFF DEBTS
If you leave debt behind when you die, it doesn’t just go away. One of the responsibilities of the executor of your estate is to pay off these debts using your assets. This means, the more debt you have, the less likely your heirs will receive anything. If all of your assets have been used and your debt still isn’t paid off, in most cases, the creditors will just take the loss.
Many people think that the only document you need is a will, but this isn’t necessarily true. You may also need Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, Beneficiary designations, and Guardianship designations. Your best bet is to speak to a lawyer who can look at your entire financial situation and tell you everything you’ll need.
HIRE A LAWYER
As stated above, the best way to ensure that your estate is in order is to hire an attorney. Laws vary by state and an attorney will be able to help you determine what documents you need, what can & can’t be included, what guidelines your will needs to follow, etc. The more complex your situation is, (multiple marriages, businesses, disabilities, etc.) the more likely you are to need help sorting out your estate.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to be a helpful starting point and not as legal advice. As every situation is different, speak to a financial professional or attorney before beginning your estate planning.