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The question of how, when—and whether—to tell your children your estate plans is a tricky one. Every family is unique, but these general guidelines should come in handy. And, who knows? You may be surprised to find the conversation you've been avoiding turns out to be a family bonding experience.
Estate planning can help your family make important decisions during difficult times. As our lives become more complex, preparing an estate plan is no longer reserved for older Americans. Here are some situations where certain documents, like a power of attorney, may make sense for young adults in your family.
The role of executor is usually assigned to a close member of the family. Given the nature of the assignment itself, the role can be quite a challenge—both mentally and emotionally. What follows is a list of executor’s duties that hopefully will create the right expectations for the job.
With many things in life, it's difficult to plan ahead. But when it comes to making decisions that affect your family and your finances, why take chances? With a durable power of attorney, you can rest assured knowing that important matters can be taken care of without burdening loved ones.
Having a last will or living trust is a stellar example of not only planning for the end, but helping protect loved ones. Some folks, however—including Apple's Steve Jobs—take planning to a whole new level with POD accounts, preplanned funeral arrangements and more.
Some estates are, well, more complicated than others. Perhaps there's a new marriage or children from new spouse. Or maybe there are atypical business assets such as a nonprofit or an unusual tax situation. How to make an estate plan that makes sense? An attorney may be able to help.
The last thing family and friends want is to have estate matters drawn out for months after someone dies. Knowing what probate actually involves will help ease fears about the process—one that isn't always as complex as you might think.
A living trust gives you one of the most flexible ways to plan your estate. But once you get a living trust, then what? There are a few important steps to follow to make sure your living trust does what you intended it to do—distribute your assets based on your wishes while avoiding probate. Find out how to fund your living trust, how long it lasts and whether or not it's the only estate planning tool you'll need.