An estate is an important way to ensure that your loved ones know without a doubt about your wishes. However, some make the mistake of thinking that an estate is a one-and-done type of thing. Estate plans should be updated every year or so or when life sends changes your way. It's not necessary to redo the entire plan when you want to cover a new area, however, you can often simply have your lawyer prepare a few additional documents to add to the plan. To get a better idea of what you might want to consider adding to your estate plan when you update it, read on.
Having a preneed plan directly with a funeral home is a great way to cut down on uncertainty for your loved ones. You can make arrangements that include the service, burial instructions, and even make plans for a final resting place all at once. You may also fund the plan to further make things easier for loved ones. Be sure at least one or more family members know where to locate your plan quickly.
Set Up Special Deeds
Most of the time, real estate is the most expensive asset left behind. If you don't do anything, your home will go to whoever you mention in the will or trust. If you are widowed or single, however, there is a better way to pass real estate from you to your named loved ones using a right of survivorship deed. The process involves adding the name or names of anyone who wants to own the home once you pass away to the deed. You are still on the deed too. This also keeps your home out of probate. Speak to your estate lawyer for more information.
Cover Your Pets
Don't expect a will to cover your pet's needs. It's better to set up a special pet trust that appoints someone to take care of your pet along with the money to fund that care.
Use Account Designations
Another way to keep some of your assets away from probate is to set up some account documents that list who you want to have the money in either a bank or investment account. Payable-on-death documents cover bank accounts and transfer-on-death documents cover retirement, investment, and brokerage accounts.
All the above additions are simple to execute and can be quickly put into place. They make your estate plan more complete while keeping a good bit of your assets away from the probate court. Speak to your estate planning attorney to find out more.