When considering their estates, some may worry that surviving spouses might remarry and cut off the children. Others may be concerned about a beneficiary’s spending habits or may be uneasy about the possibility that a disgruntled, disinherited relative will cause legal trouble. In order to help meet your current needs and pass as much as possible to your heirs, you need to remain flexible.
Keep control of your own destiny and make things a little easier on those closest to you.Just as important as wills and trusts are your durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney, and living will.These documents should be updated as your life evolves and family circumstances change.Remember these documents are very specific to each state, so it’s important to consult with an attorney well versed in the laws of your state.
While many families like the idea of freeing their children and grandchildren from the pressures of financial anxiety, most would rather not spoil them in the process. Instead of leaving cash and stocks outright, many are using trusts to control the disposition of family assets by future generations.
The first step to estate planning is to take inventory of what you have, while keeping in mind what you expect to have in the future. That includes long-term appreciation of securities, real estate, and other investments you own. It also means determining what you and your spouse can expect to inherit from your parents or other relatives once they pass away.This aspect of estate planning isn’t always as obvious—or as easy to discover.