The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
When you are beginning the process of estate planning, you will want to make sure the legacy you leave behind for your loved ones is exactly as you would have wanted. To accomplish this, you will need to know how to organize your finances, properties, and other important assets you may own. Should you fail to address various issues along the way, the result could be family disputes, legal issues, and many other problems after your death. To create the best possible plan for your loved ones, here are some tips you should keep in mind.
Name Your Beneficiaries
As you begin your legacy planning, always make sure you know exactly who your beneficiaries will be regarding life insurance policies and other assets. Should you fail to name beneficiaries, your properties and finances could be left in limbo, creating legal headaches for your loved ones that could take years to resolve.
Minimize Tax Burden
While you may at the moment be thinking only about the money and properties your loved ones will receive upon your passing, it is also important you work with your attorney and financial professionals to create a legacy plan that minimizes the tax burden on your loved ones. When finalizing your legacy planning, always make sure you have minimized estate, income, and capital gains taxes, since these can take a sizable chunk of income from your estate.
Decide on Wills and Trusts
Part of your legacy planning process will be to decide whether you believe a will or trusts will best meet your needs. Should you have a somewhat large estate that will be left behind, your attorney will likely suggest you use both of these tools. If you have grandchildren, you may want to set up a trust that will let them gain access to finances when they reach a certain age. By creating a will, you can spell out in great detail your final wishes, leaving no doubt as to who gets various assets.
Finally, legacy planning is a great time to transfer ownership of properties and perhaps even a business. You may want to consider having a clause of joint ownership with right of survivorship that will take effect upon your death. By doing so, this will make the transfer of ownership automatic, helping your loved ones avoid a lengthy and costly probate process.
A final way to show your family how much you love them, legacy planning can ensure your finances and properties are organized in a manner that gets them to beneficiaries in the quickest and easiest way possible after you die.
About the Author
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her husky, Snowball.