In every family, the birth of a child is always considered as a blissful and life-changing occasion. The moment that child is in your life, you start feeling inspired to live your life responsibly and therefore start to save as much as you can so that you can provide your newborn with every opportunity they deserve.
Simultaneously, birth also – similar to other big picture occasions like illness, marriage and surgeries that are just around the corner – gets you to think on your feet about less inspirational matters. This usually includes your estate and mortality!
Of course, none of us like to think about our death. But, the significance of planning for your loved one’s future well ahead of time can never be understated.
Still, majority of people say that they haven’t yet created their estate plan, which is solely because they find the entire planning process to be quite scary. But, between being unaware of whom to approach, worrying about the lawyer’s fees and imagining heaps of official procedure, the fall of planning activity farther down your to-do list can be as easy as falling off a log!
Now you might ask, “How can I avoid getting into such a situation?” Well, the answer is simple – set your wheels in motion!
In simpler words, you’ve got to gear yourself up and start with the planning process right away. But, before we get into the crux of an estate plan, let us tell you what it means and how can you benefit from it.
What Is An Estate Plan And What Does It Include?
On a general note, an estate plan is considered as a living and breathing set of legal documents. When you create its first version, you ought to ensure that it’s as complete as possible, and must include your trust or Will, an advance directive and a long-lasting Power of Attorney.
What Are The Benefits Of Having An Estate Plan?
One of the major benefits that you’re bound to reap by creating an estate plan is you’ll be enabling you’re family members to come up with crucial decisions (if you’re not in the position to do so) rather than giving up all your powers to the court.
Nonetheless, for this to happen you need to ensure that the information provided is as clear as possible. This way, you’ll be avoiding further confusions and reducing arguments (if any) in case something happens with you.
Bear in mind, your original estate plan doesn’t have to (perhaps, should not) be the last one. You’ve got the liberty to check it down the lane, not to mention the changes (if any) you can make that takes place when you move forward. Ideally, your future utterances would include minute alterations instead of extensive adjustments.
What Are The Provisions You Must Include?
The process involved in estate planning is certainly going to be emotionally taxing and there’s no denying! Well, this is the major reason why most of you happen to overlook some of the core aspects when creating your first estate plan.
To help you avoid this situation, we’ve enlisted 3 key provisions which you have to include in the plan.
Selecting An Executor
Nobody would want their family members to go through expensive and harsh conflicts after their death. If you’re one of them and don’t want your loved ones to fight about who must take up the administration process, then it’s better to choose an executor beforehand.
An executor is the one who is responsible for taking care of several facts and details after your death. So, it’s crucial for you to rack your brains and be diligent about who’ll be the best person to offer assistance and shore up your loved ones during tough times.
Ensure that the person, whom you’re selecting as an executor, is trustworthy and whether or not they’re willing to take up the liability on their shoulders before giving them an official title.
Once you’ve made the choice, have a word with the executor and tell him/her about how you’d like to carry out your last wishes. With the help of this conversation, you can make the entire planning process less taxing and more personal. This way, you can make sure that you and your family members are on the same page!
Naming A Guardian
This is considered as an incredibly vital decision when it comes to creating an estate plan. A guardian is basically the one who’ll take care of your kids if you die before they enter their adulthood.
Most of you tend to shun this decision, since you’re unable to make your mind up as to who’ll be the best person to look after your children. But despite that, uncertainty on such topics often leads to additional pain and hassle, especially for kids.
Say for instance, after the passing away of Michael Jackson, it was uncertain whether or not a guardian was appointed for his 3 kids. After all the debate, media coverage and drama, his attorney finally found a Will stating that the custody is given to Diana Ross and his mum. This instance sheds light on how important it is to have a Will.
When you select a guardian, talk to them if they’re willing to take up the liability and let them know about your expectations as to how you’d want your children to be raised.
Often, people keep some money aside in order to cover their kids’ expenses, if in case the guardian has to take charge. Well, that’s an altogether different conversation to have, yet it’s vital. You’ll want your children to have as much constancy as possible, if the worst happens. The last thing they’ll want is to be at the state’s custodial system.
Stating Heirloom Distribution
For you, family heirlooms wouldn’t have much importance and financial value, but they might possibly be a huge deal for someone amongst your relatives. More often than not, these are some of the items that people either overlook or forget whilst making an estate plan. You’ll be astounded to see how much anguish and confusion a small piece of jewellery could possibly cause.
Take for example, when Robin Williams died, his Will specified that his jewellery, clothes and other personal items should be given to his kids, whereas the house was supposed to go to his wife. Here the situation was the tuxedo he wore for his marriage was left in the house. Now the court had to decide whether it must be considered as an item in the house which legally belonged to the wife or as apparel that was to be given to his kids.
It’s better to head off such sticky state of affairs by explicitly mentioning what goes to whom. Your loved ones might want specific items as your memory and fights wouldn’t serve anyone. So, it’s best to be as plain as a pikestaff about what goes to whom!
The bottom line is this: creating an estate plan does not have to be daunting. If you haven’t started the process, then we highly suggest you to put your shoulder to the wheel today! Having an estate plan in place will help you lighten the pressure, steer clear of unnecessary drama and enjoy quality time with your family with the knowledge that they will be safe and protected once you’re gone.