Estate Planning

Why You Should Prepare Your Will Now

July 12th, 2011  |  Published in Estate Planning  |  7 Comments

Thinking about the future, the varied results, and those who could be affected, is very important. Everyone wants to ensure their family is taken care of, but when that time comes, people are often caught unaware. It is an eventuality that needs to be seen to, and you should feel comfortable confronting it.

It’s best to start planning for this at any time, but especially when you begin your Retirement Planning. Managing and dividing up an estate without a will can be very taxing for you loved ones, and can add more stress to an already emotionally taxing situation. Here are a few practical steps to think about when preparing your last will and testament:

Create a Will

Many laws have made it easier for family members to inherit the estate of someone who has died intestate (dying without a will and testament). If you don’t have a will, your estate could end up in probate. This is when the court decides how and what your inheritors receive. It’s a much better idea to have a living will. It allows you more advanced control to ensure that your wishes are directly followed to the letter of the law and gives your relatives guidance on anything from how your estate will be divided up to medical decisions made on your behalf.

Don’t Hire a Lawyer

Know that you don’t need a lawyer. As reported by MSN, you can cut out the stress and costs of hiring a lawyer by just doing it yourself. With so many online programs available, you can get the same job done at a very little expense to yourself. Websites offer many great services, including the ability to easily manage your estate planning and documents. It can cost as little as 50 dollars by using these websites and can range into the thousands if you decide to use a lawyer.

If you do decide to seek professional advice, there are many lawyers that do offer many services on this topic. They can help you make a list of all of your assets and liabilities, and help you decide what your beneficiaries will get. After this process is near completed, you’ll want to name an executor. This is a person of your choosing who will manage your estate after your death and ensure that your wishes are seen to. Before that point all of the your Spending in Retirement is completely up to you. It’s very common for people not to do this because they fear that their finances will be taken away from them.

Though it’s not easy dealing with the topic of death, it offers you or your loved ones peace of mind. Knowing that your family members are taken care of even after you’re gone. Taking these tips is a good start at getting your eventual needs set in order. Don’t wait till the last minute, because it will put a lot of pressure and stress on your family at a time when they need it least.

Write Your Will Right Now

July 9th, 2008  |  Published in Estate Planning  |  1 Comment

If you don’t have a Last Will and Testament, head over to ILRG Legal Forms Archive’s Estate Planning section and fill out one of their templates. I just went to their Last Will and Testament (Married Adult with No Children) template, chose my state, and filled one out. You’ll have to read the law regarding Last Will and Testaments for your state to make it official but by having this document, signed with Witnesses, you at least have something. Right now, you have nothing. There is nothing that indicates what you’d like done in the event of something bad happening.

This isn’t something you should do instead of drafting an official Last Will and Testament, with the assistance of an attorney, it’s just something quick you can do now while you hem and haw about actually getting it done. 🙂

Avoid Life Settlements

July 8th, 2008  |  Published in Estate Planning  |  Comments Off on Avoid Life Settlements

A life settlement is when a third party buys your life insurance policy. The payment for the life settlement is often more than the cash surrender value of the policy but less than the death benefit. It’s a good idea only if you would otherwise be surrendering the life insurance policy or would allow it to lapse, say in the event of financial crisis, but come with significant drawbacks you need to be aware of.

I titled his post “avoid life settlements” because it’s something you should avoid if you experiencing some financial difficulty. If you’ve done the legwork and are sure that selling your life insurance policy is the right decision, by all means go forward with it. It’s not a raw deal in all cases but there are a lot of considerations you need to keep in mind.

First, there are high transaction costs involved in this type of exchange. Second, there are unintended consequences such as being unable to buy a new policy or the loss of state and federal benefits like Medicaid. Finally, you’ll have to pay income taxes on the sale.

As with any major financial decision, you’ll want to check with a financial adviser before doing anything.

Last Will and Testament Advice: Have One!

June 25th, 2008  |  Published in Estate Planning  |  7 Comments

It’s never too early and never too late to draft a Last Will and Testament, if you don’t have one… get one! When it comes to Wills, you can make it as complicated or as simple as you needs require. It can be as simple as bequeathing all your worldly belongings or as complicated as adding provisions, requirements, etc. If you’ve been putting off having one written because you’ve been afraid of its complexity, don’t be!

Your Last Will and Testament carry the force of law and will rarely be overturned by a judge unless:

  • It violates the law.
  • Was written under duress or incompetence.

Executor

This is probably one of the biggest reasons why you want to have a Will. If you do not name an Executor of your estate, then the laws of the state will govern and the court will appoint an administrator. Having an Executor can simplify many problems (though it can introduce new ones) but is far superior than a third party administrator divvying up your belongings.

Bequeathing

This part names the heirs, what they are to receive, and clears up all confusion. If there are no named heirs and no direction as to how things are to be disbursed, then it goes to state law which may or may not match what you believe. Sometimes the living spouse doesn’t get everything if there are children, sometimes the children get nothing if there is a spouse, the law of the state prevails.

Having a will clears up confusion, has the potential to prevent a significant amount of in-fighting, and generally makes life a lot easier for your family. While it forces you to face your own mortality, it’s certainly better than leaving your family in disarray after you are gone.