Thinking about what will happen to your assets after you pass away isn’t pleasant, but it’s necessary if you want to make sure your wishes are carried out and your family is provided for. The good news is that estate planning doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. These 8 tips will help get you started thinking about how to proceed with estate planning.
- A will is essential. The will is the document that spells out who you want to receive your assets. It’s a straightforward document that simply needs to be signed by a witness. You don’t even need to file it with any court. Just place it somewhere safe. Let someone you trust know where it can be found.
- Double-check your beneficiaries. Retirement accounts and life insurance policies have named beneficiaries who will receive the assets if you pass away regardless of what your will says. Make sure you know who’s currently listed on these accounts.
- Consider co-ownership. If you jointly own property with someone, the other person will inherit the property when you pass away regardless of what’s in your will. Again, make sure you have the right names on your home or car to ensure that it passes on the way that you intend.
- Have your spouse sign, if needed. If you want your 401k account to go to someone other than your surviving spouse if you pass away, he or she will need to give up the right to inherit your account in writing.
- You don’t have to leave it to your kids! You’re in no way obligated to leave anything to your children. You’re free to allocate your assets any way that you wish with your will and to name anyone that you wish as the beneficiary of your retirement accounts and life insurance policies.
- Don’t worry about income tax on inheritance. Your heirs won’t have to pay income tax on what they receive from your estate unless they receive money from any tax-deferred retirement plans.
- Spell everything out. Make your wishes 100% clear in your will. You don’t want heirs to be fighting over items once you’re gone, so be sure to specify who should receive not just monetarily valuable items, but also sentimental items.
- Don’t forget your business. If you own a business, you need to have a business succession plan in place to ensure that it changes hands the way that you desire. This can be done at the same time as when you set up your estate plan.
To learn more about estate planning, contact Attorney Robert A. Boyd of Willoughby, Ohio. He’s been helping area residents with their estate planning needs for more than 25 years and can help simplify the process for you and ensure that your wishes are carried out and your assets are protected in the future. Give him a call at 440-918-1733 to set up a consultation or get answers to your questions.