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Blog Articles: Five Things to Consider in Estate Planning

Estate Planning When Stepchildren Are Involved
As you’re making your estate plan, you’ll want to carefully consider everything. This means it may take a while to complete your plan. Here are five things to watch out for along the way.

Bankrate’s recent article entitled “Estate planning checklist: 3 key steps to making a successful plan” is quite comprehensive and shows that estate planning should be thought out carefully and thoroughly.  Beck & Lenox Estate Planning & Elder Law, LLC, found this to be a good educational piece and is highlighting the five things to consider in estate planning:

  1. Plan your estate now. Of course, it’s not just the old and infirm who need an estate plan. Everyone needs a last will so that their last wishes are respected, knowing that the unexpected can happen at any time.
  2. Say who will take care of your minor children. While last wills may typically focus on what happens to your financial assets, you’ll also want to specify what happens to any minor children on your passing, namely who takes care of them. If you have underage children, you must state who would be a guardian for that child and where that child will live. Without a last will, a judge will decide who will take care of your children. That could be a family member or a state-appointed guardian.
  3. Ask executors if they’re willing and able to take on the task. An executor carries out the instructions in your last will. This may be a complicated and time-consuming task. It involves distributing money in accordance with the stipulations of the document and ensuring that the estate is moved properly through the legal system. Make sure you designate an executor who’s up to the task. That means you’ll need to speak with them and make certain that he or she is willing and able to act. Make sure this person is responsible with his or her own affairs, otherwise, there could be a problem properly handling yours.
  4. Consider if you want to leave it all to your children. Many young families simply give all their assets to their children when they die. However, if the parents pass away when the children are young, and they don’t establish a trust, they have access to all of the money when they reach the age of majority. This could be a great sum of money for a young adult to inherit with no rules on how to use it.  If this concerns you, you may want to ask a Beck & Lenox attorney about a Heritage trust.
  5. Keep your estate plan up to date. You should review your estate plan regularly, at least every three to five years to be sure that everything is still how you intend it and that tax laws haven’t changed in the interim. Your plan could be vastly out of date even sooner if major life changes have occurred since you first drafted it.

Estate planning can be a process where you demonstrate to your friends and family how much you care about them and how you’ve remembered them with certain assets or property. These five things to consider in estate planning are of primary importance, and it is advisable to consult an experienced estate planning attorney like the ones at Beck & Lenox for assistance. For additional information, here is a link to our Estate Planning section on our website:  https://beckelderlaw.com/estate-planning/

Reference: Bankrate (July 23, 2021) “Estate planning checklist: 3 key steps to making a successful plan”

 

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