Estate planning is crucial to ensuring that your loved ones will be cared for, no matter what happens to you. However, if you’re not currently on top of your estate planning and want to get ahead before an unexpected circumstance forces you back into the planning process, these five tips will help.
1. Plan for the future
Make sure the deed is transferred into your trust if you purchase a new home. If you want to start a business or move money around, look at ways that can be done with the assistance of your estate attorney.
2. Keep all planning documents current
Your estate planning documents should be updated whenever there is a change in your financial status or relationships with others. For example, if you have a child who is about to go to college, you might want to update your trust documents so that another set of hands can manage the bank accounts and investments after the child graduates. Look at these changes as an opportunity to make all of your planning documents even stronger.
3. Account for taxes
To avoid the stress of calculating taxes, you may want to find out what you can afford to do and work with your estate attorney or accountant. You may also want to consider using property-tax deferral accounts on your home, letting the account grow for a while, and taking a portion of that money out for yourself when it comes time for you to pay the taxes.
4. Create a plan that works for you
It’s impossible to designate a successor trustee for every situation. You may find it better to designate a particular child as an alternate trustee instead of naming an alternate successor in your estate documents. The important thing is that you’re doing something rather than leaving these matters up to chance.
5. Document your will
If you are making a will, take the time to document why you are choosing to do so, who your beneficiaries are, and why those are important to you. You may not need it in an emergency, but it will help ensure that your wishes are respected when the time comes.
Preparing an estate plan is a vital step toward ensuring the financial future of your loved ones when you can no longer care for them. They’ll thank you when you’re gone.