When you think about the next generation and your family, you might also think about your assets being passed down. From your heirloom dining room table to your financial investments, does a will cover everything? How can you make that transition process as simple as possible (and avoid probate)?
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So much of what we do with our money is motivated by a bigger picture and often, some sort of legacy. Whether considering what to do by the end of this year with taxes or how to avoid mistakes when estate planning, the goal focuses on protecting our loved ones.
Most people want their assets to go to the people they chose, as quickly as possible after they pass away. You want to make sure your estate planning documents actually put your assets in the right place. So, a will should cover that, right? The famous line in the estate planning business is, “A will doesn’t avoid probate, it causes probate.”
Probate court is a legal process after you die to determine who gets the title to your assets. A will tells the world what you want to do with your assets–who gets what? Instead of waiting and causing a long list of to-dos for your loved ones after a death, decide ahead of time where everything goes. But, the key is to follow through on finalizing those wishes by preparing the proper documentation for your various assets.
There are three main categories of assets that tend to go through probate: real estate, cars, and financial assets. So how can you forego this process and save your relatives from a lot of trouble and legal fees? In most of these cases, you can set up a beneficiary designation.
Beyond your will and beneficiary designations, you’ll also want to set up power of attorney (regardless of your age), HIPAA authorization, and a living will. This will protect your loved ones from having difficult decisions in the middle of a crisis.
Do you have the proper documentation in place? Listen to the full episode for more information or click on the timestamps below to learn more about a particular document.
[1:24] – I’ve got a will, isn’t that enough?
[2:35] – What is probate? What usually goes through probate?
[3:42] – Set up a beneficiary designation on your assets.
[6:21] – IRAs and 401(k)s typically have a beneficiary designated, but what have you done with your bank account?
[9:22] – What does a will do?
[9:47] – Make sure you have powers of attorney. Who can speak for you?
[11:05] – Sign a HIPAA authorization.
[11:42] – Have a living will.
[14:48] – A lot of these decisions can be emotional if done while in crisis mode.
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