Proper Estate Planning Hacks for a Stress-Free Probate Process
By Space Coast Daily // March 7, 2020
If there is one thing certain in life, it is that nothing is certain, except one thing –– death. Well, that and taxes, and you need to be prepared for both because they’re happening whether you like it or not. Taxes are easy; you just pay them.
Preparing for death, on the other hand, is a little bit more complicated.
This is why you need to start early on with the help of the Orange County estate planning council, so you can ensure that your loved ones will not have an even harder time after your passing.
The following tips and hacks will help you in estate planning, which will ensure a stress-free probate process for your family:
Get Your Will Done As Soon As Possible
First off, you have to get your will out of the way as soon as humanly possible. Nobody wants to plan on the distribution of their assets for when they’re gone, but having your loved ones go through probate court is ultimately a much worse experience.
This is why you need to prepare a will and specify who you want to inherit your assets. Try to be as detailed and clear as possible to prevent any confusion or legal complications from arising later on.
Estate planning is exhausting and it certainly is not anyone’s definition of a good time, but you have to do it nonetheless. The process can also be somewhat complicated, which is why you should get some help so things could be easier. As explained by Johns Creen Estate Law specialists, estate planning attorneys can help you in a lot of ways.
They would aid in gathering and securing assets, valuation, and more importantly, they can help your loved ones deal with any legal complications in case there was something wrong with your will. Such attorneys would pay the estate debts and handle probate on your family’s behalf, which is reassuring to know.
Consider a Living Trust
You might want to consider holding some of your properties with a living trust. Properties held by a living trust don’t have to go through probate court, which can save your family a lot of stress during an already difficult time.
Probate cases usually take quite a lot of time, and the inheritance might not reach your loved ones before months, and it will also be less by around 5% –– due to the attorney and case fees.
A trustee helps you avoid all those troubles as the ownership of properties or assets can simply be transferred to the beneficiaries, and the process could be over within a few weeks. It also doesn’t cost your family anything, as you can do this without the help of a lawyer –– and there are no court fees either.
Pay Attention to the Details
This applies to the bigger and smaller details alike. A lot of people include their assets in their will, but they forget about the house they live in, assuming that it would surely go to their families, but that may not always be the case.
Even if it does go to your family, the process could still take months until it goes through court, which means that they wouldn’t have a place to stay in.
So, remember to explicitly state who the house goes to. On a much smaller scale, you need to also remember to include the personal items that you might not think much of.
Family heirlooms are often contested in probate courts, and if you want them to go to someone specific, you have to clearly state it.
Healthcare Directives and Financial Power of Attorney
Estate planning isn’t just in case you passed away. You need to take all possibilities into consideration, including the one where you might be incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself. This is particularly important for medical decisions, which is why you need to appoint a healthcare directive.
This is a person that will be able to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot. You will need a similar individual to make financial decisions on your behalf, too.
They would have the financial power of attorney –– no, they don’t have to be lawyers, and they can handle your finances if you are unconscious or debilitated.
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