Death or incapacitation can creep up on anyone, and if you’re not prepared, the burden that falls on your family for handling your estate or financial affairs could be extremely heavy. Here are five tips to help everyone lighten the load:
Make an Estate Plan
One of the most important things you can do to get your affairs in order is to either make an estate plan or update your current estate plan. This way, you will have the proper protections and documents in case you become incapacitated, such as a Power of Attorney and Living Will, or if you should pass away, such as a Last Will and Testament, Revocable Living Trust and Disposition of Remains.
Be sure that all your financial accounts and policies have beneficiaries named on them, and that the beneficiaries can receive the assets without going through a court proceeding. This means that when you leave assets to any underage beneficiaries, a guardian must be named as well to be in charge of the accounts. If you don’t name any beneficiaries, or if your beneficiaries predecease you, then those accounts will have to go into your probate estate, and it may be a long process before the estate is settled.
Review Your Accounts
Conduct reviews of all of your accounts to ensure that they’re titled correctly, you have the right beneficiaries named, and that there are no issues with any of your accounts or policies. You can work with an Encino trust and estates attorney to set up a schedule of how often to review your accounts so you know they’re where you want them to be.
Protect Your Assets
There are numerous strategies you can use to protect your assets in the event of a lawsuit, creditor situation, divorce or if you need to enter into a long-term care facility. Annuity planning, irrevocable trusts, and other forms of asset protection planning are available, and you can discuss these with a qualified Encino trust and estates lawyer.
Leave Information About Your Documents
If you become incapacitated or pass away, it’s important that your loved ones can find and access your important documents. This will allow them to handle your financial affairs or settle your estate, if needed. You may also want to leave a list of all your important passwords and online accounts, in case anything needs to be done with them in your absence.
If you would like to get more information about estate planning, or if you’d like to discuss your existing estate plan and how it matches up with your current situation, please set up an appointment at our Encino trust and estates law office by calling (818) 905-6088.