Whether you have already amassed a fortune, or you are just getting started, you undoubtedly want to be the one to decide who gets your assets if something happens to you. Despite knowing that you need to get started with your inheritance plan, you have not yet done so. If you are like many people, your reason for procrastinating is that you are not sure how to get started. A Waukegan inheritance planning attorney from Hedeker Law, Ltd. offers some tips to help motivate you with your inheritance plan.
- Do not go the DIY route. In the 21 century, it is tempting to try and save time and money by searching for and downloading inheritance planning “DIY” forms. Resist this temptation! The time and money you think you are saving will almost always end up costing your loved ones considerably more time and money down the road when the mistakes or ambiguities in your documents end up in litigation. Instead of taking this risk, consult with an experienced Illinois inheritance planning attorney to ensure that your plan is correct and complete.
- Define your needs and goals before sitting down with your attorney. Take some time to consider what you need to accomplish and what you want to include in your estate plan. People typically focus on the distribution of their estate assets when they think about inheritance planning. While this is certainly one aspect of an inheritance plan, a comprehensive plan can accomplish much more than that. For example, if you don’t want your loved ones to have to deal with a lengthy probate of your estate, you could include probate avoidance as an inheritance planning goal. If you have minor children, protecting their inheritance until they reach the age of majority should be an important part of your plan. Finally, if the manner in which your body is handled after you are gone is important to you, make sure you address funeral and burial planning within your overall plan.
- Make detailed lists of assets and liabilities. You probably have some idea of what your net worth is at any given time; however, for the purpose of estate planning, you need to have a detailed list of assets and debts. You should also include identifying information on your lists, such as account numbers, passwords, or location of an asset so that that information can be included with your estate planning documents, When the time comes, it will make your Executor’s job much easier.
- Always consider the possibility of incapacity. One additional component that should be included in all inheritance plans is incapacity planning. The inheritance you hope to pass down to loved ones must actually make it to the next generation. If you become incapacitated, that could become a problem. Incapacity can strike anyone at any time as the result of a tragic accident or debilitating illness. If you are the victim of incapacity, who will take over control of your assets? Who will make personal and healthcare decisions for you? If you don’t make a point of deciding yourself within your estate plan, a judge may have to decide for you.
- Use care when choosing fiduciary roles. One of the most common – and most damaging – mistakes people make when creating an inheritance plan is failing to take the time necessary to choose the right person for fiduciary roles within the plan. If you create a trust, for example, do not simply appoint a spouse or friend as the Trustee because you “trust” them. The role of Trustee is a complex job that requires a degree of financial and legal knowledge and experience to perform well. Appointing the right person will contribute to the success of your overall plan. Appointing the wrong person could contribute to the failure of your plan.
Contact a Waukegan Inheritance Planning Attorney
Please join us for a FREE upcoming seminar. If you have questions or concerns regarding inheritance planning, or you are ready to get started on your plan, contact an experienced Illinois inheritance planning attorney at Hedeker Law, Ltd. by calling (847) 913-5415 to schedule an appointment.