You might not think estate planning is something you need to do until you are older, but if you have family, a home, or any sort of savings, it’s an important plan to put in place in your adult life. Let’s go over the 3 most important tasks in estate planning:
Task #1: Count Your Assets and Designate Beneficiaries
One of the most important decisions you will have to make in the estate planning process is where you want your assets distributed. Perhaps you have a large family and would like your savings divided evenly among each person. Maybe you regularly donated to certain charitable organizations throughout your life and would like to leave something to charity. Or perhaps your want to make sure that your home and furnishings are left to your spouse or other person living with you when you pass away.
It doesn’t matter how much or little you have, or how few or many people you’d like to inherit. Before you draft your will, you should consider your assets and establish exactly how you want them distributed.
Task #2: Establish Wills or Trusts
Even if you don’t believe you have substantial assets, you should always have a Will. If you have anything at all in your possession, creating a written Will ensures that any property and assets you possess when you pass away will be distributed exactly where and to whom you wish. You should also designate a person to take on the role of executing that Will when the time comes. If you have minor children a Will can name guardians. If you have pets, the Will can name someone to care for those animals.
A Trust may be beneficial to keep your estate from going through probate. Probate is essentially a legal process which determines your Will’s validity and oversees the paying of bills, and distribution of assets. This process can take a long time and cost a percentage of your estate’s value, plus expenses. Assets in a Living or Revocable Trust do not need to go though probate. Unlike a Will, which becomes a public documents after your death, a Trust can also help keep your estate private.
Task #3: Find an Attorney
Selecting a qualified and experienced attorney is essential to both understanding the estate planning process and completing it successfully. D. Kathleen Rus of DK Rus Law is a Maryland estate planning lawyer with over 30 years of experience in her field. She is dedicated to listening to her clients’ wants and needs and designing plans that satisfy them in a cost-efficient manner.