At 78, tom was staying with his last born son, and as days went by, he became more and more concerned with who will take over his assets. He had a handwritten will well hidden in the attic, and no one knew of the ranch he had bought a few years ago. He was debating whether to tell the son or not when he suffered a stroke and died. The will was never found.
This is a typical scenario for many seniors. We have seen cases whereby seniors have died without a will, or no one could find the will that they allegedly wrote when they were alive.
This leads to many protracted court battles over the property because there is no straight guideline to decide on who gets what and in which measures.
When you are in your sunset years, you need to realize that when you pass away, your family will remain behind and will need your assistance. You need to give a directive regarding how the process should be handled. Otherwise, you will leave behind a family that won’t stick together just because of you failed to come up with an estate plan.
To this end, you need to talk to an estate planning lawyer to make sure you follow the right procedure in coming up with an estate plan.
Assess Your Estate
Before you do anything else, this is the moment when you sit down, with pen and paper, and try to come up with a list of properties that you own.
The estate is everything that you own, right from the house to the souvenirs that you have held dear all your life. Take time to come up with the list because without it then your plan won’t be complete.
When you have your affairs in order, you will draft the plan faster. If you have all your property listed down, it is time to know whether you have any associated documents to go with the property. Collect them and have them filed and ready.
If you haven’t started the estate planning process earlier, then you need to start it immediately. As a senior, you have some time on your hands to visit our offices and start on the process.
The good thing is that it doesn’t take a lot of time to achieve the perfect estate plan.
If you already started the process, this is the right time to update the plan.
Choose an Executor
Once you have a plan in place, the next thing you need to do is to choose someone that will handle the administration of the estate when you are gone.
An executor is a person that you trust to carry out the various wishes that you have set out in the will. They take care of the ongoing bill and notify any creditors about payment of their debts.
They also take charge of the taxes and try to tie up loose ends.
When choosing an executor, you need to be sure that it is someone that has the capacity to make proper decisions on your behalf. Usually, it is a close family member or a friend that you can trust.
Review It Regularly
Even after coming up with the best estate plan, you need to make sure that you review the plan regularly. When you have a plan, certain things will trigger you to take a step, such as buying a new house or a car, or a new kid being added to the family.
Make sure you review this plan every once a year to make sure it is updated. For more formal reviews, try to talk to an estate planning lawyer every two years to update the clauses.
Share Your Plan
Try and share your plan with your family members and overlook anything. Make sure your family understands what you are doing, and they are comfortable with it. You might ask them what they love so that you designate it to them in the will.
When it comes to estate planning for seniors, you need to make sure you begin the process early enough so that you avoid any hurdles that might come your way. Take time to understand what you need and how you need it to be communicated to your family members.