Tips for making the estate planning process easy and painless

Estate planning is an important step in everyone's lives as they accrue wealth and get older. Florida residents may be interested in an article that gives tips on making the estate planning process as painless as possible.

There are a few major pointers that can take much of the difficulty out of planning for the future. Since only 35 to 45 percent of Americans have a will, these steps may be very helpful. First, it is important to understand the reasons for having the various estate planning documents. In the absence of a will, state law takes over to decide how to distribute a person's wealth when they die. This scheme will disregard any wishes that the deceased may have had. Also, if a person has young children, a will is important in designating a guardian for them should they pass away.

Another important step is to take inventory of assets and potential inheritors before writing the will. Figuring out who gets what, and who will make financial and medical decisions should the person become incapacitated are important considerations. Next, the will and other estate planning documents must be drafted. These can include any trusts, which are vehicles that allow the person's assets to skip probate, living wills and power of attorney documents. These documents delegate important end-of-life decisions should the person be unable to do so.

Drafting estate planning documents can be a complicated process, depending on the amount and complexity of the assets being inherited. An attorney could examine all of the options available for a testator and ensure that a person's wishes are clearly expressed in the documents. The attorney may also be helpful in setting up any trusts or other estate planning vehicles as necessary.

Source: CNN, "10 steps to painless estate planning", Martha White, March 03, 2014

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