Estate planning involves several tasks to protect the estate owner’s assets and prevent seizure during probate. After an estate owner dies, their estate goes to probate, and the court manages their all outstanding debts. To keep more assets with their family, the estate owner must create a comprehensive plan to protect and distribute their assets. An attorney can help them create an effective plan for asset protection and decrease losses in probate.
1. Setting Up A Will for the Estate Owner
A will defines what family members receive each asset in the estate, and the estate owner has the right to add stipulations to any assignment. When addressing their assets, it is advisable for the estate owner to create a full list of everything they own. They can give their assets to anyone they choose, and they can add conditions that prevent their family from contesting their wishes. Estate owners can get more information about estate planning by contacting an attorney now.
2. Setting Up a Healthcare Proxy
A healthcare proxy makes health decisions for the estate owner when they become incapacitated. The proxy determines if the person receives extraordinary measures during a health crisis. They determine what doctor provides care, and doctors ask the proxy about these decisions. Typically, the proxy is a family member or a close friend that would make decisions in the same way as the estate owner.
3. Creating an Irrevocable Trust
An irrevocable trust separates assets from the estate, and it takes ownership of the asset out of the estate owner’s name. Any assets transferred into the trust will not go to probate, and creditors cannot seize the assets to cover the cost of any outstanding balances. The estate owner maintains control over the trust until they die and a successor takes over. They choose their own successor.
4. Assign Guardianship for Minor Children
If the estate owner has minor children, they will need to assign guardianship for their children. The terms of the guardianship define access to financial assets owned by the children. If the parents leave assets for the children, the guardian maintains the assets until the children reach the age of majority. The estate owner can add any stipulations they prefer for the guardianship.
5. Review Beneficiary Assignments
Life insurance and pension plans require the estate owner to choose a beneficiary. Each time that the person is divorced or married, they should update this information. The estate plan has a list of all monetary assets owned by the estate owner, and the attorney helps the owner update these details to prevent issues later.
6. Assign an Executor for the Estate
An executor of the estate manages the distribution of the estate owner’s assets. They set up a time and place with the family to read the will and explain the conditions that apply to each assignment. The estate owner can choose anyone for the task, and their attorney will contact the executor when the estate owner dies. Upon their death, the executor receives the will and other documents required for distributing the estate.
Estate planning is vital for anyone who owns real estate and has extensive assets. The plan defines what happens to the estate owner’s assets after they die. Some assignments apply if the estate owner is no longer able to take care of themselves. An estate attorney helps the estate owner create all assignments and make choices about their assets.