You’re not too young, you do have enough assets, and don’t you want to make things easier for your loved ones after you pass away?
Since Oct. 16-22 is Estate Planning Week, let’s take this opportunity for a refresher on everything you need to know about how estate planning works.
In short, the process of estate planning involves determining and putting into place instructions for what happens to your possessions when you pass away and which of your trusted contacts may be tapped to watch over those assets when you are no longer here to do so.
But there are many common misconceptions about estate planning, ranging from being too young or not having enough assets to make estate planning worthwhile. In this article, I hope to set the record straight about estate planning so you can prepare for your future and generations to come.
Take stock of your goals
An estate plan can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. For some of us, an estate plan may require only a simple will in place to describe how your assets are divided at death. For people out there with lots of assets and complex goals, you might need a trust in place to administer your assets after death or even a combination of different trusts to accomplish those goals.
For example, if you wanted to leave money aside for your grandkids, but didn’t want them to gain access to it until they reach a certain age, a specific trust for each beneficiary might be needed with descriptive language to explain what triggers (i.e., age) are required before assets pass to the grandkid free and clear.
For a husband and wife, an estate plan typically will leave the assets to the spouse that outlives the other and then. at the second spouse’s passing, follows more complicated instructions as to whom receives the assets. If you don’t have children or family to inherit assets, or simply don’t wish them to receive all your assets, you can also designate a charity or handful of charities to receive gifts of cash or other assets at your passing.