Estate planning can be and do many different things. It can provide for the care of minor children. It can be a way to let people know that you love them. It can create a charitable legacy.
In fact, there are so many things estate planning can be and do that may people get overwhelmed thinking about all of them. As a result, they do not create estate plans.
At its core, however, estate planning is not that complicated. Estate planning can be as simple as transferring your assets after death.
As the Times Herald-Record explains in "Transferring assets upon death," there are four main ways to do that, including:
- Wills - In a will you state who should get your assets and appoint someone to be in charge of making sure that your wishes are carried out. Wills have to be approved by a probate court.
- Joint Ownership - If you have assets in joint ownership with another person, then by law when you pass away the joint owner becomes the sole owner of the asset.
- Beneficiary Designations - For life insurance policies, retirement accounts and savings accounts, you name a specific beneficiary to receive the assets after you pass away. A court does not need to approve the designation.
- Trusts - With a trust, you state how your assets should be handled, appoint someone to handle them and name the people for whose benefit the assets will be handled.
How do you know which approach or approaches are best for your circumstances? Contact an experienced estate planning attorney.
Reference: Times Herald-Record (March 15, 2017) "Transferring assets upon death."