No matter how late you decide to put your estate plan together, you will have some important decisions to make. Having a detailed will in place prior to your passing can make a big difference in how your family members tackle your estate and resolve inevitable disputes.
While preparing your plan, think about who you will designate in different roles. This choice may be simpler if you have a surviving spouse, but if you are a widow or widower, this may require some critical thinking. Here are three key players you will want to name in your will.
Your beneficiaries are those who receive certain assets after you are gone. When there is no will, the state of Connecticut decides how to divide property and distribute money. If you have specific intentions for all that you own, you need to be specific about who gets what in the event of your death.
Beneficiaries are commonly charities, adult children or other relatives. If you have grandchildren under the age of 21, naming them as beneficiaries may create complications. Instead, you may consider setting up a trust.
The executor, or personal representative, is the person who takes charge of your estate. He or she examines your will to determine your wishes, allocates funds to pay off any debt or funeral expenses and distributes the remaining funds to your beneficiaries.
Because your executor needs to keep track of and file a great deal of paperwork, it is important to choose someone with organizational skills, reliability and an objective attitude. Families may not agree on who you name as your executor, but it is key to pick the right person for the job.
3. Power of Attorney
If you become incapacitated or can no longer make legal and financial decisions for yourself, your power of attorney will act on your behalf. This person will have a great deal of authority, so it should be someone you trust with your assets. An adult child is an ideal choice if you have faith that he or she will do what is right.
Once you pass away, the power of attorney role no longer exists. How he or she handles your money can make a big difference on the remainder of your estate, however.
Writing a will can be an overwhelming ordeal, but it is a crucial step to make sure that probate goes smoothly. Consider these roles carefully as you prepare your estate plan.