Regardless of a person’s age, he may want to give some thought to what will happen to his property and money if he is killed in an accident. Estate planning can provide some peace of mind as it presents a person with the opportunity to set up protections and guidelines regarding who will receive a part of the estate and exactly what each person will receive. For example, a will makes it easier for a surviving spouse to receive control of property and funds and can prevent siblings or parents from going after the estate.
However, a valid will can be overridden if it is outdated and therefore it is important to keep it as current as possible, as well as any other estate planning features such as trusts. The estate administration is a key element and a person should make sure that he has chosen a person who will follow his wishes. It is also important to be aware of what the law says in regards to property that a person may have inherited with another family member. For example, if a person wants to leave their share of an inheritance to a spouse, this may or may not be possible.
To plan for the financial future of children, a parent can set up a trust that prevents the money from being wasted or used up before they become of legal age. Trusts can also eliminate the necessity of going through probate.
There are many things to consider when one is planning their estate. Therefore, it may be a good idea to meet with an attorney who is experienced in estate planning. The attorney can help the person understand current law and make sure that the wishes of the person will be adhered to after their death.
Source: The Patriot Ledger, “MAKING CENTS: Review estate plans now, rest in peace later,” John Napolitano, Aug. 25, 2013