Planning a will involves a lot more than dealing with the disposition of your assets. If you wish to make the most of your will both for your beneficiaries and yourself, planning is important. A will planning lawyer will advise you to address these five items.
Few things can chew up the value of an estate as quickly as poor tax planning. There are legal and financial vehicles that allow you to maximize your tax benefits during your lifetime. Likewise, these vehicles can minimize beneficiaries' tax burdens when they inherit assets, securities, accounts, or money.
Planning for taxes is particularly important if a beneficiary might not be in a great position to handle them. If you're leaving money to care for a spouse with medical issues, for example, you want to ensure they'll have the most to work with.
Another potential trap in will planning is debt. Your estate must resolve all of your outstanding debts from the time of your passing. Working with a financial advisor and a will planning lawyer, you'll want to provide the estate with sufficient resources to pay those debts. Many people set up annuities or other interest-bearing accounts that will exceed the value of their debts. The executor can then distribute the remaining proceeds to the beneficiaries, making it a nice little bonus.
People often focus on the death aspect of will planning. However, disability and unavailability are also major issues. Particularly, there will be questions about who controls your finances if you're unable. A properly planned will outline who has control of what if you're incapacitated in some form. Also, you should state the criteria for taking back control when you recover.
Folks with dependent children should provide for those kids' guardianship, too. Even if you have a two-parent household, you must plan for the worst possibilities. Also, it's wise to establish a financial vehicle like a trust to provide for their education and to protect their interests until they're old enough to manage their money.
If you have a notably large estate, the execution process could take a while. Providing for the maintenance of your properties will ensure that your beneficiaries receive the assets in the best possible condition. Also, a maintenance budget will make life easier for the executor because they won't have to claw maintenance costs out of other areas of the estate's budget.
Consult a will planning lawyer to learn more.