The Estate Planning Process.
Some people are not comfortable discussing matters to do with estate planning. However, death is inevitable, and it is only right to leave your friends and family with a clear plan of how you would want your estate shared out. The excerpt below discusses the estate planning process.
Drafting a will.
Hire a wills and estates lawyer to help you prepare your will. The will states who will inherit your property. The main benefit of a will is that it allows you to leave property to people who might not be part of your immediate family. For instance, you might donate to a charity or gift your close friends with some of your property. In Australia, a will requires two witnesses for it to be admissible.
Setting up trusts.
A trust refers to an arrangement where you pass property or wealth to a third party who will manage it on behalf of a beneficiary. Trusts are essential when you have children below the legal age. Once they come of age, they take charge of their inheritance. You can also set up a trust if you think that a beneficiary will misuse his or her inheritance.
Living wills and power of attorney.
A living will refers to your final instructions if you are incapacitated due to ill health. For instance, some people prefer natural deaths as opposed to being put in life support machines. A power of attorney authorises a trusted individual to make financial decisions and decisions about your health if you are incapacitated.
Appointing an executor.
The executor is an individual that will take care of your property from the time you die to when the beneficiaries receive their property. The executor should be someone you trust. Besides, he or she should have excellent management skills and a good relationship with other beneficiaries.
Updating and storing your will.
As your circumstances change, ensure that you update your will. A codicil is a document that you add to your will to make minor changes. As a principle, the codicil should not contradict elements of the original will. You can also revoke the original will and create a new will. Either way, ensure that you consult with your lawyer. Preferably, you should leave a copy of your will with your lawyer and store the other copy in a place where your loved ones can access it once you die.
The estate planning process involves writing a will, setting up trusts, having a living will, assigning power of attorney, appointing an executor and updating the will.