1. Consider Drafting A Will
A will is a legal document that entitles the assets and financial estate of a person to their inheritance as decided by the will-owner. You can draft your will in the name of your children, your siblings, your spouse, or anybody you think genuinely deserves to inherit your estate.
2. Authorize Your Power Of Attorney
Power of attorney is a legal document declaring the decision making power vested in the agent or the attorney-in-fact for another person (the principle) related to property, finances, health care. You can authorize someone you trust to make important decisions related to your assets and your estate.
This is to ensure that your estate is still maintained while you are away. You need not necessarily give all the powers to the attorney. The power granted to act on your behalf can be as limited or broad as you want it to be.
You obviously wouldn’t want your attorney-in-fact or your agent to misuse the power that you authorize to them. Choose your agent or your attorney-in-fact carefully. It can be the guardian you declare for your children, your spouse, your trusted employee, or your butler. There is simply no limitation under the law for the selection of the attorney-in-fact.
3. Nominate Your Beneficiary
For writing your will and authorizing your power of attorney, you need to nominate your beneficiary. A beneficiary is a person who inherits someone’s property and assets as listed by the donor.
The beneficiary or the nominee can be anyone within or outside your family. This process is very crucial during estate planning as it can either jeopardize your estate after your death or it can actually benefit someone and your estate. Usually, people declare their successors or their siblings as their nominee. But, again there is no statement as such in the law that the nominee should only be a blood relative.
You can choose to hold your estate with a trust. This will not only keep your estate safe and secure but also save the probate procedure, which is both, time-consuming and an expensive procedure.
4. Understand Estate Taxes
The estate tax is levied on the beneficiaries portion of inherited estate depending upon the value of the estate or the portion of the estate. This tax is borne by the beneficiary. It is also known as the inheritance tax.
Typically estate tax is levied above certain exclusion limit. Exclusion limit is the value of an estate that is exempted under estate tax laws. So, before you proceed with your estate planning you need to understand the estate taxes. This understanding can help your successors to inherit your estate with ease.
5. File Your Estate Plan With The Help Of A Lawyer
Legal proceedings and compliances are often very confusing for the general public. It is safer to hire an experienced lawyer to help you with filing your estate plan. The lawyer will make sure that all the procedures and legal formalities are fulfilled in the proper manner and order as required by the law.
While looking for a lawyer you should make sure that the lawyer you hire has extensive experience in the field of estate laws. Hiring an expert lawyer can significantly improve the chances of avoiding any troubles in the legal procedures.
Take help from the internet, ask your friends, your neighbors, or any relative who might have hired someone for the same purpose. Get a thorough background check on the lawyer you are about to hire. There are plenty of fraudulent imposters out there waiting for someone to fool.
Getting a feedback from the former clients of your attorney can help clear the doubts. Also, checking the license of law practice by the bar association is definitely to be checked before hiring a lawyer.
These lawyers are pretty costly, as they charge for the years of expertise they have gained in practice. So be ready to pay a hefty amount while hiring an estate lawyer. You can of course negotiate, but try not to lose the best lawyer just to save a few bills.
Estate planning is an exhausting task and requires a lot of evaluation and estimation on the financial front. Having someone experienced by your side can really pave the roads for you.
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