Settling an estate takes time and money. You can ease the settlement process for your own estate by planning ahead. Here are three ways to help your family member’s navigate your affairs when you pass away.
Safe Storage of Documents
Upon your death your family will have to gather up all of your estate documents and meet with an attorney. You can make this process easier by storing your documents in a safe but easy to find location. Some common storage places include: safe deposit boxes, fireproof boxes, home safes, a trusted loved one’s home, your attorney’s office, or on a computer or website as a digital image. You may want to choose more than one location. At each place, leave a note to advise of the location of the originals.
Maintain Your Documents
An updated estate plan allows for an easier settlement process. Review your estate plan every one to two years to make sure your beneficiaries are current, your assets are correct, and that no estate law has changed to affect your plan. When you do update your plan, make sure to destroy old copies of estate documents to avoid confusion.
Use Trusts for Special Inheritances
If your estate plan includes any type of special inheritance, you can use Trusts to fit your needs. Trusts are best if you have any of the following: special needs heirs, pets, minor children, charitable donations, or the desire to leave funds for your descendants. Trusts allow you to handle special circumstances easily and may allow for a faster estate settlement.