No one wants to plan for the event of their death. For families, the death of a loved one can throw the whole family dynamic into chaos. Grief brings out strong emotions in people. With close families, that grief can sometimes bring up old arguments and contention. This is why a clear and detailed estate plan can help alleviate any arguments or in-fighting that might result from an unclear will.
The tools of a good estate plan
There are many advantages to drafting an estate plan that can avoid probate. The probate process makes some of the details of an estate public. For more complex, high-asset estates, privacy is a highly desired state. You may not want someone who is not an heir or beneficiary of your estate to know about the state of your properties and asset holdings. Here are some of the ways that an estate can avoid probate:
Living trust: A living trust (also called a revocable trust), takes a person’s designated assets and places them into a trust that can be modified while they are alive. This provides a certain amount of flexibility if that person ends up needing some of these assets.
Joint property: Any property owned along with another person will pass over to them at the time of a person’s death. Some assets may be used by other family members but need to be put in their name in order to pass full ownership over to them.
Retirement account beneficiaries: A person can directly name a beneficiary for their retirement account or savings account with a bank. In many ways, this process is more straight forward than creating a trust for passing along property.
Make sure your family is prepared
You want your family to have the best chance of success after your gone. Make sure you make a careful plan that can guide them through this challenging process.