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5 Estate-Planning Tips: Part 1

No one wants to think about their ultimate demise but it is an inevitable fact of life. Planning for when you shuffle off this mortal coil might seem morose, but it is one of the most caring things you can do for the friends and family you will leave behind. A well thought-out estate plan with a clear-cut plan to administer it will ease the minds of your grieving family members and will ensure your final wishes are carried out. Hopefully, our Worcester readers will find these tips useful.

The most obvious place to start is to create a will. This document will detail how assets should be divided among the beneficiaries of your estate. So if leaving money in a trust to ensure the care of a beloved pet is important, it should be included in the will. Also, if there are specific items that should be given to certain individuals, that should be outlined as well.

The importance of having a will cannot be stressed enough. Dying without a will (intestate) means the probate court will present everything to the next-of-kin. If that’s not the desired effect, then spell it out in a will. A testamentary trust is a good idea as well. This document will ensure that what is left to the family stays in the family. So if a husband dies, leaves the bulk of the estate to his widow, she remarries and dies, the estate will go to the next-of-kin of the late-husband, not the wife’s second husband.

Next week, we will cover the two remaining basic steps needed to create an effective estate plan. It is important to note that these are the basics; there are many other things you can do to ensure your final wishes are carried out as you’d like. Speaking to a legal professional experienced in handling estate planning can be beneficial when planning your estate.

Source:  MarketWatch – WSJ, “5 estate-plan strategies for boomers” Andrea Coombes, Nov. 29, 2013

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