Thinking about a future without you in it is a painful and sometimes daunting prospect. It’s easy to think that you won’t need to be prepared for when you die. That whatever you leave behind, is simply that: what you leave behind. But as you age, and grow more comfortable with the notion of a future without you in it, you’ll start to think more about what sort of environment you’re leaving your loved ones behind in. You’ll start to ponder how you can better prepare them for your eventual departure, and what a world without you in it might be like.
It’s the duty of every good family member to leave their heirs and the ones they love a set of directions for when they’re gone. An estate plan can be one of the most important things you do for your family because if you do it right, you can be saving them from potential years of hardship in probate court down the road. However, there are many who worry about what their estate plan will do to family ties. Of course, you’ll want your beneficiaries to benefit from your financial legacy and gather the most important heirlooms from your collection, but what does that mean for those who might get left out, or not receive what they expected?
If you’ve been on earth long enough, you’ve likely already gone through a variety of readings of the will and you’ve seen the chaos that a loved one’s death can leave in its wake. It’s completely normal to be hesitant about approaching your own estate plan for fear of hurting people’s feelings. That’s why Goldberg & Associates has put together a quick step-by-step to help you limit the turmoil that might course through your loved ones upon your final departure and the reading of your last will and testament.
Inheritance Doesn’t Have To Tear Your Family Apart
In fact, here at Goldberg & Associates, we believe that there’s almost no reason that with a properly designed estate plan, you’ll be able to sow discord between the relatives you leave behind. Careful estate planning can help you avoid family conflict upfront by addressing many preliminary issues which are often at the route of most family disputes after a death. Your estate plan, when properly devised, will protect you and your family from these easily avoidable, but relationship ruining conflicts.
Find Your Executor(s) Now
Every good estate plan obviously has a designated executor of the estate. An executor acts as a sort of administrator of how the wealth will be distributed, ensuring that all of the wealth is extracted from the estate so that everyone is getting what they’re owed according to the will. If you do not determine ahead of time who will be the executor of your estate, a judge will use state law and decide who will administer the estate’s assets on your behalf. If this happens, family members often end up fighting for that specific privilege.
If your family launches into a court battle in an argument over who shall be the administrator of your will, it’ll be long and costly in terms of both money and in terms of emotional pain. Plus, court battles for an estate often use the funds of the estate to pay for them. This also makes it so all of your assets will be public information because the courts will put the estate through probate. If you’re like us, you don’t want your personal affairs to be accessible by the public in any circumstances, so it’s important to assign an administrator, or several administrators if you’d like to watch over the will and avoid any long, horrible court battles.
Determine Your Elder Care Plan
Most people don’t consider their elder care to be a part of their estate plan and organizing their affairs, as they usually associate the term “estate plan” with passing on. And if you need elder care, that means you haven’t passed on, yet. But, if you’re expecting some eldercare provisions for yourself, you’ll need to explore adding elder care to your estate plan. Indeed, some of the most important documents that exist in your estate plan will be there to protect you while you’re still alive, not just for your family members after you’re gone. Eldercare documents will outline who will take care of you should you become incapable of taking care of yourself on your own. You’ll need to outline important expectations of yours, like who will be granted medical power of attorney and will make important medical decisions on your behalf when you no longer can. You can also outline what your wishes are regarding your medical care, for example, if you were to fall into a coma, how long would you want for them to wait for you to wake up?
This is one of the major points of contention for most families. Indeed, many people argue over the medical power of attorney and how those difficult decisions should be made regardless if it’s in your wishes or not.
Most importantly to note, though, is that avoiding writing out an elder care plan for yourself might end up with you in a poor end of life situation. You should dictate the level of care and how your finances will be managed for the last portion of your life to the best of your ability so that it can’t be misinterpreted later on.
If you don’t establish an estate plan for yourself, a court will end up picking one for you, and it may not be who you would have initially elected. If you make your desires clear in your estate plan, however, there will be adjustments made to ensure that your wishes are satisfied at the end of your life and beyond.
Pick Who Inherits
Depending on the size of your estate, you’re going to have to pick out the people who will inherit certain assets. Obviously, the main dispute between the loved ones you leave behind will be focused on who stands to inherit and who doesn’t. You’ll need to make that decision, and you’ll need to outline who will be receiving the money, personal items, streams of revenue, and any real estate you own.
You’ll need to outline how your estate should be distributed in very succinct and easy to interpret detail. If you don’t do this, you’ll be leaving this decision to the state courts, and you likely wouldn’t be very happy about how your estate is divided. It’s important, then, to ensure that your estate is divided according to your specific wishes. In this case alone, you shouldn’t worry about how the estate will affect your family. It shouldn’t be a matter of discussion on how you decide to distribute the assets of your estate as that is entirely up to you. What you decide goes, and what they think of it will have to be something they come to peace with in their own time. Try to be as fair and balanced as you can be, that’s honestly all they can ask of you.
Consult With An Attorney
The best way, by far, to avoid any family rifts that could easily be avoided is to seek out an attorney. Dividing up an estate and accounting for your own elder care is extremely difficult. It requires measured decision making and experience. You can access that experience through a trustworthy and long-lasting attorney relationship like the one you could build with Goldberg & Associates. We’re here to help families all over Atlanta avoid the common pitfalls that render their estate vulnerable to the opinion of the state and a court. We firmly believe that your estate is your business and your family’s business alone which is why we strive to provide you with a variety of resources that should make it easy to make an air-tight estate plan that is still a living and breathing document so that you can make adjustments when you need them.
Reach out to us today to start the consultation process and find out if we’re the right estate attorney for you and your family’s needs.