Leaving a financial legacy for your family is one of the best things you can do to ensure the success of future generations. When it comes time to plan your estate, there are a few steps you should take to simplify the process. Here are four things you should consider doing to make your estate easy for your heirs to navigate.
Put a Current Will in Place
One of the biggest mistakes people make as they age is putting off the creation of a will. Having a plan in place that spells out who will receive what is essential to ensuring the smooth distribution of your estate. If you don’t already have a will or if your will needs to be updated, your estate planning attorney should be able to help you put one in place.
Create Trusts When Necessary
If you have a high net worth, you may want to consider creating trusts for your heirs. Trusts allow you to designate third-party managers for the wealth that will be inherited by your heirs, potentially reducing their tax liabilities. Trusts are also good tools for leaving money to grandchildren who are not yet old enough to manage significant amounts of money on their own.
Go Over Your Plan With Your Heirs
Perhaps the most important step in ensuring that your estate plan comes off smoothly is to go over it with your heir. Once a year, sit down with the beneficiaries of your will and update them on the status of your estate. This meeting should include any changes to the will and a basic overview of the value of your assets. If your heirs know what your plan is, they’ll be much better prepared to implement it when the time comes.
Liquidate Small Assets You Don’t Need Anymore
As you go through your financial life, you’ll likely make many different investments. Some of these will be small, generating only a tiny trickle of income each year. If you want to simplify your estate, it may be a good idea to sell off insignificant assets and roll the proceeds over into your main investments. This will reduce the number of assets your heirs have to track down and deal with as they settle your estate.
Estate planning is never easy, but these four steps can at least make it a bit simpler. By following these four tips, you can set your heirs up for a smooth distribution of the wealth you’ve accumulated in your lifetime.
Author information: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter: @RachelleWilber