Estate planning can get complicated, so it makes sense to turn to technology in order to help lighten the load of the process. Maybe you need your grandkids to show you how to upload photos to Facebook; however, that does not mean you should eschew the benefits of the digital age when estate planning. Using technology wisely can help you save time and money as the estate planner, and potentially help your heirs sort through your assets faster when you die.
Determining who receives your assets after your death is difficult enough, and that is before the paperwork gets involved. One of the best tools in this planning process is a living trust, which can help ensure that your assets go to your intended beneficiaries as quickly as possible with little fuss.
Nobody likes to think about needing a living will. For the majority of us, the idea of being medically incapacitated is terrifying. However, having a living will on hand is extremely important.
When many people think of "estate planning," they automatically picture legal documents and procedures associated directly with a person's death. While it is true that wills and trusts play a (potentially) huge role in estate planning depending on the circumstances, there are also instances where estate planning can affect the planner's life while he or she is still alive. An example of this is an advance directive or advance healthcare directive: having a living will can produce a blueprint of your wishes if you are medically incapacitated, allowing your chosen agent to make decisions on your behalf accordingly.
Estate planning is a vital piece of financial wellness, but many Americans overlook it. For example, the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils says that well over half of Americans do not currently possess an up-to-date and valid estate plan. In fact, the majority of Americans who are over the age of 65 depend entirely on their Social Security payouts. This is not the most financially secure retirement. With proper estate planning, Americans can go into retirement with more confidence and security.
Choosing a beneficiary for your will or estate may seem like a daunting process, but it does not have to be. To be clear, a beneficiary is an individual (or organization) who receives a piece of your estate when you die. It is possible to have multiple beneficiaries of a will or estate. You can also make the beneficiary whomever you wish: a beneficiary does not have to be a relative.
Many people believe that it is a smart idea to add their children on the deed to their home for inheritance purposes. Generally, the reasons for this are honest in nature. In the majority of cases, people want to help their heirs avoid probate or inheritance tax and think adding the child’s name to the deed is a form of asset protection. Sometimes they may also want to put their child’s name on a house deed to prevent the sale of the home to pay for assisted living expenses.
There are few things more destructive to family relationships than dealing with disputes after a loved one’s death. Dealing with potential high-value assets along with grief can be overwhelming and ruin a family. Additionally, intense strife over a will or trust may result in some or all of your intended beneficiaries attempting to abandon your estate plan.
There are many reasons to want to avoid probate: it becomes a matter of public record, it can cost your heirs a lot of money, and it can sometimes take years. For these reasons, many people take it upon themselves to try and avoid probate at all costs.
The most common choice you have when setting up an estate plan is the choice between a will and a living trust. A will is always a one-way ticket to probate unless your estate falls below a minimum threshold of value. In many states, the minimum threshold is about $50,000. In California, that threshold is $165,250.