“Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
While thinking of death is not most people’s idea of fun, North Dallas residents should prepare for the inevitable. This includes ensuring that their assets will be appropriately distributed and any associated expenses will be covered when the time comes. Consulting a skilled and experienced Hammerle Estate Planning lawyer is highly recommended. In addition, below are five steps to effective estate planning that everyone should know.
The first and most important step in estate planning is to draft a last will and testament. This document’s purpose is to legally assign how you want your various assets distributed after your passing. Without one, your estate will be divided in accordance with state law, which may contradict your last wishes. Although there are many websites that offer will creation services, working with a qualified estate planning lawyer is still the best way to make sure that your will and last testament will be validated by the court system.
The next step in estate planning is to consider whether or not holding some of your assets in a trust is a sensible option for you. A trust is a legal agreement, whereby one party, called the trustee, agrees to hold property for the benefit of another. For instance, if you want certain assets to go to your children, but you also want to leave certain assets to your grandchildren, establishing a trust where your children are the trustees can be a good idea. It is also worth noting that trusts can be used to minimize taxes and protect assets. To ensure that your trust is set up in a way that aligns with your intentions, it is crucial that you discuss your situation with a qualified estate planning attorney.
Secure a Life Insurance Policy
Securing a life insurance policy is another essential step in estate planning. The benefits of life insurance policies are twofold. One, the death benefit payment can spare your loved ones the burden of covering your final resting expenses; and two, the remainder of the payment can be used to ensure your dependents enjoy the best possible quality of life after you’re gone.
Keep Your Life Insurance & Estate Paperwork Together
Once you have created and finalized your estate plans, keeping all of the paperwork together is vital. You’ll also want to ensure that your documents are with someone you trust, such as the family attorney. After all, your last will and testament, trust agreements, and life insurance policy documents can only be of use if they are accessible.
Become Familiar with Estate Tax Laws
Lastly, when doing your estate planning, it is important to have a good understanding of estate tax laws. In addition to leaving your property to your loved ones, you’ll also be saddling them with a legal obligation to pay taxes on that property. Understanding how transferring money, stocks, land, life insurance benefits or business assets will be taxed upon your passing will have a big impact on how you want your estate to be distributed. The best way to mitigate the burden that the estate tax will have on your beneficiaries is to work with one of the experienced estate planning lawyers at the Hammerle Finley Law Firm in Lewisville, TX.
Whatever your estate planning needs, Hammerle Finley can help.
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