Estate planning is something that everyone needs to consider — yet few people actually do. The fact is that everyone will eventually die, and the majority of those who do will leave some kind of property behind. Property is a tricky thing, due in part because what we legally define as property isn’t simply limited to land and houses. Property can include everything from your furniture to your cash, and even your stock in a company. Furthermore, legal property is not the only thing that you need to plan for. There is much that can happen after a person’s death, especially if they die unexpectedly. No one likes to think about such things — but the truth is that many times, the belongings of those who died without a will in place lead to disputes among family and friends. These disputes can lead to cases in probate court. So little do we know about probate law that many people — 71% of adults under the age of 34, and 41% of baby boomers, to be exact — go without a will to this day. Probate and trust administration cannot be properly handled without a will — as you’ll see below. As much as we may drag our feet over our wills, life is much easier with them versus without them!
Planning Ahead Of Time: Going Beyond The Will
Before launching into the importance and mechanics of your potential will, let’s look into other aspects of probate and trust administration. After all, when it comes to planning a will, the most important part is the “planning” involved. Planning for the future means considering every possibility — or at least, as many as you can think of! There is much to be aware of when you are thinking about your future. For one thing, you should think long and hard about “worst case scenarios”. This could include devastating injury or illness; and additionally, injury or illness that simply leaves you temporarily incapacitated. In cases like these, you’ll want to be sure about who is making the decisions about your life, and in certain situations, the end of your life. This could happen, unfortunately, at any age. Healthcare power of attorney is specifically the type that applies to healthcare decision-making. Although only 38% of adults have healthcare power of attorney, the number could certainly rise in the future. The point is that it’s extremely important to take care of probate and trust administration in every way, even when it doesn’t involve your will.
Your Will: What You May Not Think About
Your will can be a difficult thing to plan. Many things are obvious: for one thing, you need to make sure that your will includes provisions for your real estate. If you have grown children, try to divide your assets as evenly as possible to avoid disputes. On that note, you should ensure that any minor children of yours — or for that matter children under your legal guardianship — are provided for and taken care of. This is undoubtedly the most important part of planning a will. It is why all people should plan wills shortly after becoming parents. However, human children aren’t the only living things you should consider when planning a will. Many people have pets, and in fact as most die at an old age, it’s more likely that you’ll have pets to worry about than minor children. Yet despite this fact, 61% of Americans don’t think it’s important to provide for a pet in their will. Not only should you plan for who will care for your pet — you may want to leave some money for the pet’s immediate food and vet bills. Though it isn’t necessary, it is a nice gesture.
No matter how you end up planning your will, the most important thing to know is that probate and trust administration are not things to be taken lightly. As long as you are careful and employ legal assistance, you shouldn’t have to worry about your wishes being followed.
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