Planning for your Unique Assets
Remember that old joke: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time. At the heart of that gag is the truth about how you tackle any seemingly complex task, taking it one step at a time so as not to overwhelm yourself.
Many people neglect to create an estate plan because they see it as the proverbial elephant...too big, too complex. But if you approach estate planning in a systematic fashion, it takes the complexity right out of it – especially with the help of an attorney who is experienced in navigating the both the emotional and legal intricacies of estate planning.
Here are some tips on how you can reduce the complexity in creating an estate plan, from a recent Fox Business article:
Take an inventory of your assets. Take an inventory of your retirement accounts, life insurance, potential inheritance, savings, property ownership, etc.
Get educated on trusts. Trusts are simply vehicles for protecting your assets from creditors – yours or your heirs – and from potential future ex-spouses. They are also a great mechanism for maintaining your privacy and allowing your assets to pass to your heirs without the expense and hassle of probate, which can tie up assets for a year or more. They can also help you and your heirs avoid estate taxes.
Think about whom you trust to act as your agent(s). You will need to appoint a person or persons to act as your agent through a power of attorney in case you are unable to make those decisions yourself, in the case you become incapacitated or have a terminal illness. This applies for health care decisions as well as financial oversight. Remember, you don't have to choose the same person to act as both your financial agent and your health agent- this way you can chose the persons who are truly the best fit for either role.
Understand what a will can and cannot do for you. A will is the cornerstone of your estate plan, it gives direction on how to pass along assets and property to heirs as well as name guardians for minor children and appoint the people who will carry out your wishes after you are gone – i.e., who will administer your estate and who will safeguard your assets for minor children. BUT Remember: Your will comes alive when you die! So if you are incapacitated or cannot communicate for yourself, the terms of your will are not yet valid.
If you would like to have a talk about your own estate planning, call our office today at (305) 860-8338 to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We will walk you through all of the decisions that need to be made in an organized fashion so you don't proverbially bite off more than you can chew!