In many cases, your parents will have a trust or other legal document in place that prevents the family home from entering into probate when they die. It's not often that both parents die at the same time, but it isn't out of the realm of possibility for it to happen. If for some reason nothing was set up properly, you will need to follow the local procedure for transferring the deed of the home through probate.
Have you heard the word probate before? If so, you likely know that this is a legal process that can wind up costing you a lot of money in taxes. Many people will set up their estate plan in ways that prevent it from reaching the probate stages. Today, we will take a look at three ways that can help you avoid probate, which will put more money in the pocket of your beneficiaries when you are gone.
If you already have an estate plan in place for yourself and your spouse you cannot simply file it away and sit on it for years to come. The estate plan is a set of legal documents that should be reviewed every so often to ensure that they still reflect your wishes and your familial situation. Here are the most common life events that should force you to review and update your estate plan.
As it becomes easier, less expensive and more common to travel and do business overseas, more people are investing in assets in other countries. Maybe you used some of your retirement savings to buy a little beach house in Mexico. Perhaps you bought an investment property in Italy. Maybe you are part owner of a pub that an old friend opened in England.
With people living longer, many elderly Tennesseans use up most of their accumulated savings and wealth during their lifetimes. By the time they pass away, there may not be a significant monetary inheritance for their children and other loved ones. Even people with a vast estate may prefer that most of it go to causes and organizations they feel strongly about. They may believe they've already given their children more than enough advantages to be successful.
The new year is a good time to review your estate plan and determine whether any changes that occurred last year require changes or additions to your documents.
By having a well-thought-out and professionally drafted estate plan, you help ensure that your loved ones and other beneficiaries will inherit your assets as you intend. You also help minimize the time, expense and stress of settling your estate for your family. Further, you can put powers of attorney in place to make sure that people you trust will handle your financial obligations and oversee your health care wishes if you're incapacitated and unable to do these things.
One of the goals that many people have when developing their estate plan is to provide money for the educational needs of their children, grandchildren and possibly even future generations. Often, this is accomplished by setting up one or more educational trusts.
If you have a child or other loved one for whom you're responsible who has a physical and/or mental disability, you likely are concerned about making sure that they receive the care they need if they outlive you. That means making sure that there's money available for that care. Special needs trusts are generally the best way to do that. They can also help protect your loved one's own money as well as government benefits while you're still alive.
If you've begun developing your estate plan, or at least thinking about it, you know that one of the most important decisions you'll need to make is who will be the executor. This is the person who will, as the name implies, "execute" your plan and see that all of your wishes are carried out, in accordance with the law. It's an important responsibility.