Although it’s probably not a task you would prefer to handle, taking care of the legalities surrounding your inheritance is a necessary thing to do. By having all your last wishes legally finalized, you will be able to make sure your assets are inherited by the people you want. This will not only spare your loved ones from going through a lengthy legal procedure after your passing but will also protect your assets from inheritance theft. From this article, you will be able to learn how to protect your property and ensure your legacy is respected when you aren’t around anymore.
Leave a Detailed Will
In order to make sure every aspect of your inheritance is taken care of according to your wishes, it’s crucial that you leave a very detailed will. Regardless of the size of your assets, this action will help your loved ones take care of the financial issues that may arise with your passing and much more. With a carefully drafted and legally binding will, you can leave every piece of your assets to whomever you want. Plus, this will allow you to make sure that anyone under your legal guardianship will be financially secured for the future.
Discuss Your Plans With Your Loved Ones
Whoever you are planning to leave your inheritance to will need to be kept in the loop from the moment you decide to draft your last wishes. Whether it’s your friends and family members, they will need to know who gets which part so they can be prepared to handle the legalities. While this may cause some resentment and tension between them, by letting all of them know about your wishes you can also ascertain that none of them will try to take advantage of the others after your death. You can also prevent this from happening by selecting two executors of your estate. These persons should be from outside your list of heirs so they won’t have any motive to mishandle your will.
Assign a Power of Attorney
In case you become incapable of handling your finances even before your death, appointing a financial power of attorney could help ensure everything is still happening according to your wishes. Without this, the court will appoint a conservator to handle all your finances, and your loved ones won’t have any say in what happens to your estate while you are still alive. As this is an issue you probably want to leave in the hands of a trusted person, you must assign them the power in due time.
Ensure Inheritance Theft Prevention
You will need to consider taking a few crucial steps to prevent inheritance theft of your estate. First of all, you will need to consult a legal advisor about your plans concerning your legacy. According to a Manhattan estate planning attorney, proper estate planning is crucial to prevent your assets from ending up in the wrong hands. A skilled attorney can help you set up all your defenses, including a will, trust, and probate. Plus, they can even ensure you get a detailed accounting of your estate or trust from the executors or trustees.
Set Up a Trust
In case you have anyone under your guardianship who won’t be able to take care of their own finances, at least for a certain amount of time after your passing, setting up a trust fund for them is an excellent way to solidify their financial positions in the future. If you leave any minor children, you can appoint a trustee (or more than one) to manage the estate they have inherited until the children are old enough to do this by themselves. This way, you can prevent their inheritance from creditors or even the other parent if needed. While this might add a significant amount to your legal fees, it will be all worth it.
Take Care of Life Insurance
Your life insurance policy should take care of all the funeral costs and any other expenses your loved ones will encounter when you pass. Should you have any dependents during your life, a term life premium could also cover all their needs when you aren’t around anymore. Your life insurance amount should make up 10 times your annual salary, and if it has a component that allows savings, even better.
Update The List of Your Beneficiaries Regularly
After your passing, the beneficiaries from all your insurance policies, investments, and accounts have a legal right to the part of your assets they have been using during your life. Even if you leave a detailed will assigning every piece of your estate to certain people, your beneficiaries can contest that. To prevent this from happening, make sure you have the list of your beneficiaries up to date all the time. You will need to change it after any life-altering event, like birth, death, divorce, and so on.
Keep Your Paperwork Organized
As this can help your loved ones out when the worst happens, you should keep all your paperwork organized and ready to be used at any time. All your files about your finances, including insurance, mortgage paperwork, and account numbers, should be kept in one place, along with the contact information of your legal advisors. It’s a good idea to also put social security and medical information in the same pile, so they are easy to find. Keep the copy of your essential documents in a safety deposit box and the originals with your attorney or a trusted person.
As you can see, taking the proper legal steps to protect your property after your death isn’t just about wanting to leave your assets to certain people. Unfortunately, more and more families are confronted with inheritance theft after their loved ones pass away. Even if they manage to resolve the issue through legal channels, there will rarely be a satisfying outcome for any of them. They have to invest so much money and time to go through all that hassle, and they might not recover everything they were entitled to. Let this article be your guide to protect all your assets and spare your loved ones from all that headache.