Estate planning might sound like something that you only need to think about if you’re very wealthy, but that isn’t the case at all. Anyone who has any assets, money, or property should put some serious thought into what they want to do with it.
In simple terms, estate planning is arranging what will happen to your property and assets when you die or become incapacitated in some way. It’s essential to think about these things, especially if you have a family and assets that may be liable to tax.
You might think that making a will leaving everything to your family is all the estate planning you need but you may have failed to take into account any tax liabilities or potential litigation that this might trigger.
Sorting out these issues now means that you don’t really have to think about them again unless your financial circumstances change drastically or your family does.
Who can help you plan your estate?
The amount of planning and advice needed will depend on the size and complexity of your assets. As a basic, you will need legal advice from a qualified family law litigator and attorney. You should also consult a financial advisor too.
Between them, they will be able to advise you on the most tax-efficient way to pass on any assets or money to your family.
What do you need to consider?
In general, you will need to make arrangements for any property, investments, and insurance policies to go to those who you wish it to. But there are other scenarios to think about too.
For example, if you die before your partner, they would usually inherit your assets and money, even if you have children. But should they remarry and then pass away, the money may well pass down to their new partner and their children, rather than to yours. Many people want any wealth to stay in the family, rather than pass sideways out of it.
That is a very specific example, but you need to think about what you want to happen with your money after you’ve gone and who you want to benefit from it.
The steps to creating your estate plan
The easiest way to plan your estate is to:
- Create a list of all of your assets, savings, investments, property, and insurance policies
- Decide which dependents and family members you want to provide for and how much
- Establish the most tax-efficient ways to look after your assets while you are still alive by taking professional legal advice
- Ensure you document everything so that it is harder to contest after you’re gone
- Appoint someone to act as an executor or fiduciary when the time comes.
No one likes to think about what happens when they are gone, but if you want to ensure your money and assets go to the right people, then it must be done. Make sure you take advice from professionals who’ll be able to help you find the best way possible to make the most of your assets.