5 estate planning must-haves

estate planning

When most people hear the term “estate planning,” they think of a will. Although planning your estate does involve making a will, it also involves a few other key details. Check out the five estate planning must-haves, and know that your estate will be in good hands.

1. Will and Trusts

Your will dictates the division of your assets. Instead of letting a court decide who gets what, you can specify the details in a will. Trusts also impact your estate. In many cases, trusts limit estate taxes. You can set up a trust to prevent taxes from greatly impacting the amount of money your loved ones receive.

Of course, having a will and trusts doesn’t mean anything if you don’t properly word them. If your will is unclear, someone could contest the will. As a result, the fate of your estate could be in the hands of the court.

Someone with knowledge of estate planning law in Tucson can help you create your will and trusts. As a result, you can prevent lengthy legal battles over your estate.

2. Beneficiary

Most individuals would like to keep the court away from their estate. For that reason, it’s important for you to name a beneficiary and a contingent beneficiary. Without a beneficiary, the court will decide where your funds go. Similarly, the court will take over if your beneficiary dies and you have no contingent.

You should be sure that any beneficiaries are over 21 and are competent. Otherwise, the court could still take over.

3. Letter of Intent

A letter of intent tells your beneficiary or your will executor about your wishes. Although it’s similar to a will, it’s not a legally binding document.

Your letter of intent might not have much power in a courtroom, but it is important. When you’re estate planning, your letter of intent is crucial. It can include specifics, like funeral details. It also explains what you want to happen to your assets.

A letter of intent is simply a document left to your executor or a beneficiary. The purpose is to define what you want done with a particular asset after your death or incapacitation. Some letters of intent also provide funeral details or other special requests.

4. A Power of Attorney

In addition to planning for your death, you also need to plan for incompetency. If you’re left incompetent, you can have someone make major financial decisions for you. It’s important to appoint your own power of attorney, or the court will do it for you.

The same is true of a healthcare power of attorney. If something terrible happens to you and you are incapable of making medical decisions, you can appoint someone to be in charge. Although many people rely on their spouses for power of attorney, there are situations in which other individuals are more appropriate.

5. Legal Advice

There are many other important features of estate planning. Failing to include certain details in your will or making other critical mistakes can impact the fact of your estate. An estate planning attorney can make sure you don’t miss a thing. If you’re unsure where to start, you may be able to get a referral from a family law attorney in Tucson, as the two fields both relate to family and life planning.

If you want your planning to be successful, you need to take your time with estate planning. Working with someone with experience gives you the best chance at a good outcome.

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