As they age, people often say the world used to be simpler. Sometimes, it is a simple matter of perspective, but it is plainly true in some cases. For example, old age by modern measures was rare in previous centuries, and divorce was nearly unheard of when religious orders had more power in society.
It takes expertise to be a builder, but it also takes the right tools. The wrong implements and materials mean trouble for a home, sooner or later. In the same way, estate planners have to make sure that the right financial instruments are part of their strategy to pass money and property to others.
Many successful people rely on professional help to guide their financial fortunes through life. Why would anyone do differently when it comes to the future of properties and assets when life is coming to an end?
After a lifetime of hard work and tough choices, you would want to be able to choose who benefits from your fortunes. A surviving spouse or children may be at the top of your mind, while you may also want to contribute to charitable organizations or important cultural institutions.
The probate process is costly, time consuming and stressful. Fortunately, you can create an estate plan with the goal of most your assets avoiding the probate process.
Adding a living will to your estate plan may be one of the best decisions you ever make, as it can give you peace of mind in knowing that your health care wishes will be followed in the future.
One guarantee of states and municipalities across the United States is a type of probate court, which allows people to legally take responsibility for assets that used to belong to someone else. Each jurisdiction has its own rules and laws to follow, which often deal with how assets are divided or distributed when there is no directive from the deceased person.
One memoir by the mother of a child with special needs likened the experience to planning a trip to France and going to Italy instead. Anyone with a family member with special needs can report that the point of this statement is true: It may be surprising, but it is still magical.
People may put off making an estate plan for a lot of reasons. They may feel they're too early in life, or they may assume their plans are so simple that they inevitably work in probate. But, just like there is always a reason to avoid estate planning, there is always a good reason for adults to address the subject as soon and as often as possible.
Most of our financial advice in early life comes from older family members. They have been around longer and we begin life trusting them and listening to them. So it can feel awkward when the tables are turned and it may be time for elders to require our advice.