It has often been said that having a comprehensive estate plan in place is the greatest gift you can leave your children and other heirs once you are gone from this earth. After all, litigation over estates can quickly devolve into a living hell that tears families apart and results in hard feelings won’t heal for years, if ever.
No one wants to leave a mess behind upon their death, but many people simply don’t know what steps they can take while alive to ensure administration of their estate is efficient and painless for their loved ones.
By following these three steps you can greatly reduce the likelihood of estate-related legal conflicts for the people you love the most.
1. Make Sure You Have A Will
Whether you are young, middle-aged, or solidly entrenched in your golden years, you can benefit from having a last will and testament. While most people can greatly benefit from having trusts, power of attorney, and other estate planning vehicles in place, making sure you at least have a will is an important first step in protecting your assets and your loved ones. When you have no plan at all, you are leaving the window wide open for disagreements among the people you leave behind.
2. Update Your Will To Reflect Your Reality
Do you have children? Are you married? Are you recently divorced? A will is only as good as what it covers, so make sure your estate plan reflects the current reality of your life.
3. Talk To Your Children About Your Wishes
Make sure your children know you have an estate plan and know who to get in touch with once you are gone. Having information such as account numbers, estate planning documents, and the contact information of your attorney handy can greatly reduce confusion and stress in the immediate aftermath of your death.