Most people know how to amass assets and expand their estate. Unfortunately, some of them don't plan what will happen to their hard-earned investment assets once they die. Estate planning involves keeping a record of all the assets you have and preparing to transfer them to the beneficiaries of your choice. Without proper estate planning, you will work hard to preserve your assets and even amass more, but leave your children fighting over them when you die or even lose some of them to other interested parties. So to protect your investment assets and ensure a stress-free transfer, see the estate planning steps you shouldn't skip:
Draft an Error-Free Will
Writing a will is the least expensive and simplest way to get your estate plan rolling. A will isn't just a list of wishes; it's a legal document that outlines how you want your investment assets — personal and financial — to be distributed to your beneficiaries. A will indicates all your investment assets, how they will be distributed, the principal beneficiaries and the share that each beneficiary will get. If you don't want some individuals, organisations or business to benefit from your investment assets, indicate it in the will and give reasons for it.
Don't Forget to Create a Trust
Writing a will is a great idea, but it's not everything when it comes to estate planning, especially if your estate is vast or you have substantial assets. Trusts are different from wills in that they offer living benefits. But before you create a trust, go through your country or state laws to ensure the trust is within what the law stipulates. If you want to control your money and assets while still alive, then create a living revocable trust. With a revocable trust, you control your investment assets while alive and cancel or amend it whenever you need to. You could also create an irrevocable trust to give your assets and estate maximum legal protection even though you aren't in control.
Take out an Insurance Policy for Your Investment Assets
Before you plan your estate, you should insure it since things might get nasty later if some interested or malicious parties discover the estate wasn't insured. If you don't insure your estate in good time, it might be difficult to fund a trust or outsource some money to expand the estate. Insuring your estate and investment assets provides the defence you need when you and your estate face some legal challenges. Where possible, get every necessary insurance policy — disability, health, home, life and auto — to be safe.
Although the estate and the other investment assets belong to you, making estate planning a do-it-yourself project can be risky. Some people plan the estate themselves to save money, but this exposes their beneficiaries to serious problems in the future. Work closely with an estate planning lawyer so you can understand income tax issues and federal laws before you plan your estate. Other professionals you may consult when planning your estate include a certified insurance agent, financial planner and public accountant.