You may wonder what you can do about your estate after you pass away. If you want to control what happens to your assets and personal effects after you die, an estate plan is essential.
Making an estate plan is the process of anticipating your passing and instructing how your assets are managed afterward. There’s a lot you can do with an estate plan. Here are a few things to include as you plan your estate:
A will is the most common document in an estate plan that helps instruct where your assets go. In your will, you can itemize your assets and name beneficiaries and heirs.
Without a will, you would pass away intestate. Intestate means there was no valid will to review, which would mean the state would have to administer an estate. This can be problematic since the state won’t know your last wishes. It can also delay the transfer of important assets to your heirs, creating financial instability.
2. An executor of the estate
An executor of the estate is responsible for the distribution of your estate. You can name anyone of legal age to be your executor. Your executor is also responsible for filing your will to probate court, filing taxes, paying debts, securing assets and contacting beneficiaries and heirs.
A trust is a legal document in which you, the granter, can have a trustee hold assets until instructed. The trustee is then responsible for distributing assets to beneficiaries at the appointed time. People make trusts to avoid probate, estate taxes and will disputes. You can also instruct a trust to distribute assets for specific reasons, such as for the care of a pet, for charity or a child’s education.
It can help to reach out for legal help to learn about your options as you draft your estate plan.