A death in the family brings out the best and the worst in people. On the one hand, you can probably expect food to be brought to the funeral and even help trying to find the right clothes for burial. On the other hand, there may be arguments over everything from that outfit you chose, to the headstone, to the music played during the service. And that’s just the beginning. If a loved one has any amount of sizeable assets, you can almost expect someone to start a fight. Even in a close-knit family, the amount left in the will can be enough to unravel the relationships.
Take Charge of Your Assets!
Whether you’ve already planned your estate or it’s something you’re working on there are ways to ensure your assets are divided the way you want and not held up in legal proceedings. Work with a qualified estate planner and talk about:
- Establishing A Trust:Placing your assets into a living trust, with yourself as the trustee allows you to continue using your money how you want. Appoint your executor as the successor trustee and at the time of your death, your assets will be able to be used in the way you directed in your will, without probate, and without delay.Alternately, with a Testamentary Trust, you can make provisions for your minor children in the form of a trust that becomes active at the time of your death.
- Pour Over the Rest: Any assets that weren’t initially part of the trust can be automatically “poured” into the trust with a “Pour-Over Will.” This could include overlooked assets or recent acquisitions.
- There’s No Contest: As you work with an estate planner to draft your will, consider a no-contest clause. Anyone who contests the will won’t be able to receive any portion of their inheritance.
Review for Accuracy!
No matter how well you think you’ve planned your estate, your life will always change. Sit down with your financial estate planner every couple of years to ensure your will is accurate, so your family won’t have to pay the price later!
Posted on behalf of Fred M. Kennedy, P.C.