Estate Planning Made Easy: How to Ensure Your Family Gets What You Leave Them

Wednesday, August 17, 2016, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

When a person approaches the end of their life, it becomes more of a concern that their earthly possessions are properly divided among their heirs; yet, in many cases, complications arise that prevent their possessions from being properly distributed to the intended recipients.

As a result, the probate court, the executor and disgruntled heirs daring to interpret the decedent’s wishes are left to battle it out for control of what property, money or personal possessions remain in question.

Frequently, the legal battles this will create will go on for years with no guarantee that the decedent’s wishes will have been accurately carried out concerning the resolving of their estate and final affairs.

Fortunately, the person engaged in estate planning can take measures to resolve these types of problems before they ever become an issue.

Here are a few ideas to clarify how this is done.

  • Choosing an Executor

    An executor is a person who takes on the burden of managing an estate through the probate process. Generally, this is a daunting task, because all legal and obligatory actions must be carried out on time and in line with the decedents wishes.

    The executor should, therefore, be a trusted individual that can be counted on to execute their responsibilities in a proper fashion. Simply granting this authority to any random family member, or worse allowing the probate court to assign an executor to the estate, may prove to create more problems than it resolves.

  • Hire a Competent Attorney to Help With Estate Planning

    According to Robinson and Henry, PC, the probate process can be tricky. This is certainly true if the decedent has no will or the will is being contested.

    For this reason, it is especially important to make certain that a will is properly drafted during the estate planning phase. This is not simply an issue that people should seek to do at the last minute either.

    A lot of thought and careful wording needs to go into a will to avoid ambiguities that could create legal problems.

  • Identify the Heirs

    It is always a good idea to identify those people who you want to receive money, personal items or to have a controlling interest in the estate’s real property holdings after the decedent has passed away.

    Making a list and assigning specific belongings to specific heirs helps to create a working outline of who should receive what from the decedent’s estate. Having this worked out ahead of time can make working with an attorney to draft a will an easier process.

  • Avoiding Probate

    According to Community Voice, there are a variety of ways to keep assets from needing to go through the probate process.

    One way to get around probate is to hold joint tenancy on real property that transfers to the remaining person on title once the decedent has passed away. This action keeps the probate court’s hands off the rightful heir’s real property inheritance.

    Revocable trusts and pay on death bank accounts, for example, are other methods people use to keep assets from being subject to probate upon death of the decedent.

Estate planning can be a sticky and legally draining experience. Fortunately, the less a person leaves up to chance in the executor of the estate and the probate court’s hands, the less problems are likely to arise.

By transferring the assets of the estate before death, as much as possible, and drafting an iron clad will, a decedents wishes can mostly be carried out before death has occurred. Such forward thinking will undoubtedly make resolving the estate less cumbersome on all parties involved.

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Anica Oaks is a Freelance writer and web enthusiast. Read some of her published work on her Google+ page.

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