Estate planning is a process of preparing tasks that serve to manage your asset base in the event of the owner’s death. The goal is to ensure beneficiaries collect assets to minimize estate tax, income tax, gift tax, and other taxes. Contact a New Jersey estate planning attorney today if you want to help build legal documents for estate planning.
Some steps that can make your estate planning more manageable.
- Inventory your stuff
You might think you do not have enough to justify estate planning. However, once you begin looking around, you will find many tangible and intangible assets you have.
Tangible assets in estate planning include:
- Homes, land, or real estates
- Cars, motorcycles, boats, or any other vehicles
- Antique collectibles like coins, art, trading cards, etc
Intangible assets in estate planning include:
- Savings account or certificates of deposit
- Life insurance, health savings account, ownership in a business, etc
It would be best to estimate the value of your tangible and intangible assets. If you do not have a valuation, evaluate how your heirs will value them. It will assist you in distributing your possessions equitably among the people you love.
- Make a will
You will declare who you want to inherit possessions or property in a will. Naming a guardian for your children will help you sidestep costly family court fights, which can drain your estate’s assets.
- Consider a trust
Your survivors can dodge time-consuming probate court if you hold your property in a living trust.
- Make health care directives.
A health care directive includes a health care declaration and a power to an attorney for health care, which gives power to the one you have chosen to make decisions when you cannot.
- Create a financial strength with an attorney
You can allow a trusted person to have authority to handle your finances and assets if you become disabled or unfit to manage your affairs.
- File beneficiary forms
Name a beneficiary for all your bank debts and retirement plans, automatically making your account ‘payable to death’ to your beneficiary, allowing the funds to skip the probate process.
- Plan to reassess
It would be best if you consider revisiting your estate plan.
- Revisit your estate plan if it includes the birth of a child, marriage or divorce, a new job, or termination.
- Revisit your estate plan even if the circumstances do not change. Your situation might be the same, but laws can change.
- Store your documents
Your attorney or executor (the person you chose to handle your property after you die) may need to access the following documents:
- Insurance policies
- Retirement plans information
- Real estate deeds
- Funeral prepayment plans
- Information on debts