Estate planning involves, among other things, determining how to leave your money to your children. When you pass away, your wealth goes to them. You simply need to figure out the best way to do it.
While both men and women need to do proper estate planning, it is especially important for women because they tend to live longer than men. This means that the odds are higher that the last surviving spouse in an opposite-sex marriage is going to be the woman. Even if she simply gets her husband's assets when he passes away, it is then up to her to pass those on to the rest of the family.
Your estate plan probably starts with a will. It's the most basic document expressing what you want to happen with your estate after you pass away.
Sometimes, you can use a joint tenancy to bypass the need for real estate property to go through the probate process after you've passed away. You might buy a piece of property together with another person -- like your spouse -- and set up the ownership as joint tenants. Or, you might simply sign part ownership of your home to a joint tenant as a part of your estate planning strategy.
There are so many varieties of trusts that it's difficult to keep track of them all. These trusts can also drafted in a number of ways, which makes it tricky to know exactly what to do for an inexperienced trust planning attorney, and especially for a layperson who doesn't have any legal training. A Totten trust, for example, is a type of legal document that many people have never heard of.
As you create an estate plan, you'll spend a lot of time thinking about what will happen to your assets upon your death. Like many, you may have plans of leaving your assets to your adult children.
There's a lot to think about when creating an estate plan, including who you will name as guardian of your minor children. While you hope that this will never be necessary, you must cover all bases and name a guardian nonetheless.
Estate planning is not something you focus on once a year. Instead, it's important to keep a close eye on your plan at all times, as you never know when you need to make a change.
If you're working to get your divorce finalized before the beginning of next year when the new tax changes take effect, you're probably consumed with that process. However, don't forget that as a divorced person, you'll likely need to make some significant changes to your estate plan -- if you have one.
Even with the best intentions, you could make an estate planning mistake that costs you and your loved ones time and/or money. Fortunately, when you're familiar with the most common mistakes, it's easier to avoid a bad situation.