3 Crucial Things To Address When Getting Started With Estate Planning

Posted on: 21 July 2020

After working so hard to achieve everything you have, you should have a say in who inherits your wealth. This is only possible if you undertake estate planning. Although the process is not exciting, it can help protect your estate from going into probate. It allows you to apportion your wealth to your chosen loved ones and take care of them even in your absence. Therefore, as you consider getting started with estate planning, here are three crucial matters you need to address.

Draw Up a Will If You Don't Have One

Estate planning and drafting of wills isn't just for the rich. As long as you are over 18 years old and have some form of property, you need a will. Think about the house you live in. What if estranged relatives claimed it after your death? Without a will, loved ones who deserve to benefit from your achievements may lose out. 

Therefore, if you don't already have a will, plan to write one. If you have a will, ensure it is up to date. Ask your lawyer to update it every time you make new investments to ensure they end up in the right hands in your absence.

Assign Beneficiaries for Your Insurance Policies

Most people remember to write wills, but they forget to assign beneficiaries to insurance policies, super accounts, and investment accounts. When you take up a life insurance policy or make investments in stocks, mutual funds, or even in the money market, you are asked to provide beneficiaries. In the event of your death, the dependents will receive the specified percentage of your funds. 

Note that a list of beneficiaries can be updated. Thus, if a listed individual becomes estranged or dies, you can update the policy to exclude them. You can also change the percentages allocated to each beneficiary as you wish. If there is no beneficiary named and there is no will, the funds will be directed to the state for division by the courts.

Find a Legal Guardian for Minor Dependents

If you have children or minor dependents, it's essential to find someone who can act as their guardian in your absence. Even if you have set up a trust fund, you need a guardian to take in the children and oversee essential issues such as their health, education, and much more. 

The guardian will also manage funds channeled towards education and general care. Estate planning allows you to find a suitable individual who you love and trust. You can even approach them about the role before including them in your will.

Estate planning can prevent your estate from going into probate. Talk to an attorney so they can help you handle the legal details when undertaking the process.

To learn more, contact an estate planning attorney.