CONSUMER BLOG
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By : Elizabeth Humbal, 08-24-2015

You must have frequently come across various disputes related to property and assets distribution. However, if you do an estate planning before death, your loved ones may never require facing similar problems. Estate planning is a process that aims to give maximum benefits and wealth distribution to the beneficiaries and eliminate uncertainties prior to the death of the owner of these assets. Death is inevitable, thus estate planning is not just for the old, but everyone. Even if you are not as rich as Bill Gates, whatever you have owned till now is your hard earned asset and you surely don’t want it to go to the wrong hands. 

A will is an instructional document that is written and signed in front of witnesses and you can amend it anytime during your lifetime. It is revocable and you can keep conditions for your estates (both real estates and personal property) according to your wish. With wills, you can also appoint a guardian for your minor heir and make provisions when he or she will be entitled to be a legal heir of your assets. A will is especially beneficial for people living and possessing assets in those states where probates are not complex. 

On the other hand, living trust is a more professional lifetime and after death property management. Unlike wills, trusts have an additional benefit of avoiding the lengthy and costly legal probate during transfer of assets. If you leave your family with a will then your family may have to go under multiple probates (especially if you have assets in other states) and may also have to pay legal, executor and the court fees. Other than being exempted from these, living trusts ensures maximum privacy, brings all your assets under one plan, prevent court control in certain cases, is widely accepted and can be amended during your lifetime. 

No doubt with so many additional benefits, living trusts are initially much costlier than wills. But, it’s you who have to rather choose between a hassle- free life for your loved ones when you leave or a small addition to your bank balance. 

The full potential of living trust can only be exploited when you fund it regularly and constantly manage the trust after it’s created. You have to add your assets to make the trust actually valid. That’s why it’s called 'living’ and if you do not fund your trust, your beneficiaries may end up paying probates and taxes. 

Challenges to Estate Planning

Many people fear that estate Planning are way too costly because of tax payments and the complexities involved in the process of estate planning. But most of the time it is seen that your family isn’t fully aware of your financial records, insurance policies and various other assets and thus faces tremendous problems after your death. Estate planning doesn’t needs to be too costly if you plan it step by step. Start with small and amend your plans as you grow. Sometimes estate planning is not just about management of assets after death but also instructions for passing your values, instructions for your care before your or yours spouse’s death, managing life and disability insurances and avoiding unnecessary legal fees. Make sure you constantly update your wills or living trusts in accordance with the state laws. 

If you're interested in finding someone to assist you with estate planning, you can always submit a free search request to www.myezbz.com.

Tags : Family, Finance,
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