Usually the last thing on people’s minds is estate planning, when in reality, it needs to be something done on a regular basis as your wishes and circumstances change.
It’s not easy to do estate planning, and the very thought of sitting down with a lawyer and telling him or her what you want to do with your assets when you die just gives you an odd feeling. Often it’s also hard to know where to start, what to give to whom, how to gift it, and whole raft of other burning questions you need to ask your attorney.
If you don’t know what estate planning is, it’s sitting down and getting your finances in order for those left behind when you pass on. While you might not enjoy doing this, it will make people’s lives easier later. It’s not a lot of fun dealing with an estate that no one took the time to pre-disburse in accordance with the principles of sound estate planning.
If you want a certain someone to have something of yours, this is the time to enshrine that wish in your will. If you wait or don’t do it, that gift may wind up in probate and not go to the person you wanted to have it. Sure, it’s natural to want to put this kind of planning off because it’s hard to think about dying. However, the best time to begin this kind of task is when you start to amass assets – like your home, investments, real estate, etc. Planning now is the smart thing to do.
Perhaps you might think you don’t have enough assets to be put into a will. That isn’t the point though. The point is that you want certain things to go to your family and not to the government. All our lives we give to the government, in death it is time to gift our families. This means you may have any wish you want expressed in your will and legally your family is bound to abide by your wishes later.
The will acts as the central point to estate planning and actually does the deed of tying all the finances and other estate details together. So once the will is done, it’s time for some down to earth and clever planning, dealing with assets such as annuities, investments and retirement funds. Choose your beneficiaries, and make sure they know they are being named in that capacity, and, if you wish, what you plan to leave them. This is a personal decision, and you may also choose not to divulge your plans.
Be aware that there are many kinds of tax implications that go hand-in-hand with estate planning, so make sure the attorney you are consulting gives you the full run down so you are totally informed. Don’t attempt to do estate planning on your own. The chances of failing miserably are quite high, not to mention the fact that there are way too many gray areas in this area of the law that may ultimately trip you up later.
Patrick Warwick is the lead content contributor for Chicago bankruptcy firm, The Law Office of Jay F. Fortier, P.C.. To speak with a Chicago bankruptcy lawyer or learn more about creditor rights, Chicago bankruptcy, Chicago bankruptcy lawyer, Chicago bankruptcy attorney, visit Westsidebankruptcy.com