Estate planning can seem overwhelming, especially if you’ve never made an estate plan before. Creating a plan of this kind requires various legal documents so you can thoroughly safeguard your assets and secure your family’s future. Before you create an estate plan, itemize each asset you own and decide who you want them to transfer to when you die.
Below are essential assets you should consider during estate planning.
Real estate is any real property you own, such as a primary residence, vacation home, rental property, or land. Your estate plan should include all real estate with designated beneficiaries to assume ownership after you pass away.
Although real estate is a valuable asset, inheriting it can lead to significant tax consequences. You should think carefully about who you want to leave your land or home to and whether they can afford the taxes and mortgage. Setting aside funds your beneficiary can use to pay the bequest-associated expenses can be helpful.
Many people overlook cars, boats, and other vehicles during estate planning. These are commonly used assets that are forgotten about while creating a will.
You might consider a joint tenancy with a right of survivorship for a simple transfer of title. Whoever is a joint vehicle owner will automatically assume ownership of the property upon your death. They can avoid probate since they already have an equal right to possess and control the motor vehicle.
Interests in your business should be part of your estate plan, especially if you want someone to take over when you die. A succession plan allows a smooth transition of ownership without interrupting daily operations. You should pick the person you want to take over and start teaching them everything they must know about the business.
You can leave instructions in your will for your executor to sell the asset upon your death if you don’t want the business to continue. Indicate whether you want beneficiaries to receive proceeds from the sale and the amount or percentage each person should receive.
Your hard-earned investments shouldn’t go to waste. If you have stocks, life insurance policies, 401(k) plans, or other investment accounts, include them in your estate plan. Designate beneficiaries for each account. You can name more than one person as a beneficiary if you want. However, you should indicate how they should share the funds to prevent confusion about dividing the account.
The money in your checking and savings accounts won’t transfer to anyone unless you add beneficiaries. You can request a beneficiary form from your bank. The person you list on the form can access the account when you die.
If you want your loved ones to be able to avoid probate, set up a payable-on-death (POD) designation. You maintain the account while you’re alive, and your beneficiary assumes control when you pass away. Instead of worrying about whether they can afford funeral costs and other necessary expenses, they can use the funds to pay those bills.
It might seem insignificant, but you should identify important personal items in your estate plan. Indicate who should receive a precious family heirloom, collectible, expensive jewelry, or artwork. Naming beneficiaries will prevent your family from fighting over your belongings.
Get Help with Your Estate Plan
At Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP, we understand your desire to care for your family when you’re gone. Our estate planning lawyers in Council Bluffs, IA, have over 100 years of combined legal experience. We can help establish a comprehensive estate plan and include all the assets you want to leave behind.
If you want to create or modify your estate plan, call us at 712-309-3738 for a confidential consultation today.