It is never too early or too late to start planning when it comes to your estate. If you’re unsure about where to start, there are a few basics that you can begin researching. As an experienced wills lawyer, including those employed at Kaplan Law Practice LLC can explain, it isn’t a good idea to commit to any specific estate planning approach without doing some research first. Depending on your state’s laws and your unique needs, there are any number of resources that may benefit you and your loved ones. With that said, starting by researching the following three basics will give you a good grounding before you meet with an experienced local estate planning lawyer.
Draft a Will
Wills are one of the most common estate planning tools. If you decide to have a will, keep in mind that your estate may be subjected to the probate process, which is a process that can generally be avoided if you “skip” drafting a will and instead create a living trust. Either way, you’ll want to update these particular estate planning resources as often as your needs and preferences change throughout your lifetime.
Gift Your Money
Most people don’t consider gifting to be an estate planning strategy, but the truth is that it may be a better option than putting all of your assets into a will or a trust. When you gift your assets while you remain living, you can ensure that your money remains with your family. In addition, you can see the reaction on your family member’s face when you give away the gift.
In addition, this approach (subject to certain limits) can help bring down your estate taxes. If you’re worried about how much your loved ones will have to pay, then gifting your assets now may help in the long run. One thing to stay wary of is gifting assets that will appreciate over time. Your tax professional or estate planning lawyer can help you figure out which assets to keep within your estate until you pass and which to gift your loved ones now.
Set Up a Trust
If you have a large estate, then you probably have thought about setting up a trust before. Trusts can be beneficial when it comes to large estates and if you fear how your heirs will spend your assets once you’re going. When you create a trust, you’ll appoint a trustee who can overlook it and distribute your wealth accordingly.