Estate Planning: Know the Basics Ahead of Time

What is the estate planning process?

Estate planning can be a challenging and emotional endeavor. Fortunately, knowing the basics and preparing a will ahead of time can help to avoid a lot of confusion.

Most of us want to financially prepare for even the worst situations. However, it can be hard to sit down to discuss it whether you’re at retirement age or are retirement planning. Fortunately, there are a variety of estate planning basics so you don’t have to do it alone! It’s just important to consider your needs and consult a professional to ensure the process is as seamless as possible.

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What is the estate planning process?

Forming an estate can be a confusing process, so you may want to have an estate planning checklist. You can start by consulting a professional who will put you on the right path to understanding the process. It’s beneficial to be aware of your personal finance situation. This will include knowledge of property you own, investments, retirement savings, and valuables. It’s also important to make an educated decision on whom you would like to inherit your assets. Whether it’s your niece, a good friend or your sibling, ensure it’s someone you trust with fiscal and medical matters. Keep in mind that it’s never too late to get started on a will, no matter your age. With the accessibility of estate planning software, it’s never been easier for seniors to begin the process.

Who can be an executor of a will?

There’s more to estate planning than deciding who will receive your assets. As it stands, you’ll have to choose an executor and someone with power of attorney. An executor can be a friend, a relative or a professional that you trust to distribute property and process claims. While those close to you may not require payment, your estate would pay a professional.

Someone with power of attorney will be able to make financial and medical decisions if you cannot. But if you assign healthcare power of attorney, it’s more likely they will follow your medical wishes. Oftentimes, this will go into effect depending on circumstances specified in the will.

senior couple estate planningWhat does an executor do when someone dies?

In the event of a person’s passing, the executor will be responsible for many tasks associated with the estate. While they must pay funeral and burial costs from the estate, they’ll also have to acquire the will. The executor should use appropriate professionals, like an estate planning attorney or accountant to ensure they settle affairs properly. They need a list of all of the assets and beneficiaries at this time. However, the executor must pay off all of the estate’s debts. It may be the case that everyone wants to settle soon, but it’s important to finish things properly.

How do I make a claim against an estate?

Estates aren’t without their legal complications, and regulations involving suing over an estate vary from place to place. However, there are important things to bear in mind when estate planning. Someone can sue the executor as a result of their duty-bound actions, but they’re not liable for the estate’s responsibilities. An executor may be sued in the event they are considered negligent or irresponsible in their fiduciary duties. This can usually be proven in the event that the executor is not consistent with the wishes of the estate. If someone decides to sue an estate, there’s a shorter window of time than there is with a living person. However, once in process, the legal proceedings are very much the same.

Settling an estate can be stressful, and that’s why it’s important to know the estate planning basics ahead of time. If you have experience as an executor or are going through the process, let us know on FamilyApp. While it can be easy to delay it, preparation helps to give everyone peace of mind.

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