One of the most crucial aspects of developing your estate plan is determining who to name as your executor. This is the person who will oversee the disposition of your assets to your heirs and beneficiaries as you've designated. Your executor will also be responsible for paying any final bills, possibly selling your home and representing the estate in court if necessary.
Choosing an executor is one of the most crucial decisions you'll make as you develop your estate plan. If you don't designate an executor, the court will appoint someone to handle those responsibilities. Most people prefer to choose someone they know and trust.
When you begin working with your attorney on your estate plan, you'll be hearing a lot of terms that you're probably unfamiliar with. It's crucial to understand what they mean.
Estate planning involves more than drawing up your will, trust and other documents. It involves making crucial decisions about who will handle your affairs not only after you're gone, but if you become incapacitated to the point where you're unable to make decisions for yourself or take care of your personal and financial obligations.
A will is one of the most important documents in an estate plan. However, there are some things you shouldn't or legally can't include in a will. In some cases, that's because they need to be addressed in other documents or by making other arrangements. In other cases, they are illegal and therefore unenforceable.
You're finally taking the step of putting an estate plan in place. You hope you'll be around for decades to come, but you never know. You've worked hard your entire adult life and have considerable assets to show for all of that hard work. You want your children to inherit that money.
One of the most common reasons that people challenge a will or other estate plan documents after a person's death is "undue influence." This is when someone coerces (mentally, physically and/or morally) a testator to the point where that person isn't designating the dispersion of their assets as they would if they were exercising their own free will.
If you and your spouse are headed for divorce and your relationship has devolved into conflict, distrust and perhaps even some hate, one of your first instincts may be to remove him or her entirely from all of your estate planning documents. You don't want your estranged spouse having any say over your finances and certainly not over your medical care should you become incapacitated. You may not want your soon-to-be ex to get a penny of your money if you die.
If you have an adult child or another family member with a physical or mental disability that impacts their ability to care for themselves, you want to ensure that they are provided for once you're no longer around. Many people create special needs trusts for this purpose. Here's how it works.
If you have a child who you need to establish guardianship rights for in your will, it's important to do so correctly through the courts. Guardianship can help in a number of ways, including protecting your children if you or your child's other parent passes away.