4 Things You Should Know About Estate Planning

Figuring out what will become of your assets when you die is an important task. It may not be pleasant to contemplate your own mortality, but passing away without an estate plan can make things difficult for your surviving family members. Creating a will doesn't have to be difficult. Here are four things you should know while estate planning:

1. Your will can address your end-of-life care.

While wills are primarily used to allocate assets after your death, this document can also be useful while you're still alive. If you have specific instructions you would like carried out if you become disabled, you can address that in your will; for instance, some people stipulate that they should not be medically resuscitated. Your will can allow you give someone you trust the power of attorney to make medical decisions for you.

2. You can benefit from a living trust.

Trusts are a common way that people choose to distribute inheritance. Upon your death, the assets or money that you placed in the trust will be given to the beneficiaries you named. Alternatively, the trust can hold the assets for your beneficiaries to draw upon as needed or as stipulated by you. Living trusts are special in that you can place your assets in them and continue to utilize those assets yourself until your death. By deciding to place your loved ones' inheritance in a living trust, you may be able to avoid certain fees, ensuring you leave your surviving loved ones as much of your money as possible.

3. A trusts lawyer can help you.

Creating a trust and will yourself can be incredibly difficult. The forms you need to fill out to form a living trust vary by state, so you may not be able to find the information you need on the internet. An experienced trusts lawyer can guide you through the process and ensure that the forms are filled out properly. Estate planning is too important to leave up to chance, and a good lawyer can help you get it done right.

4. You can appoint a trustee.

In some cases, it makes sense to distribute your beneficiaries' inheritance as soon as you pass away. This method works well when your beneficiaries are adults who will use their inheritance in responsible ways. If your beneficiaries are minors when you pass away, you may want to appoint a trustee. A trustee is someone who will oversee the trust you create and distribute funds at their discretion.