Having a valid will and a complete estate plan is important for everyone, but it’s crucial as you approach retirement.
Richmond Times-Dispatch’s recent article entitled “Estate planning during the pandemic” says that it’s because you’ll probably have more assets at this stage of your life, and it’s important to consider whom you’d like to inherit.
It is critical that you plan to be sure your spouse and family will be cared for financially, in the event that something happens to you. This can be accomplished with proper estate planning with the help of an estate planning attorney.
If you die without a will or estate plan, state probate laws of succession may direct the way in which your assets are distributed. This can be an expensive process, but it can also be a significant burden on your family during a time of grieving and sadness.
Even with a will, going through the court-supervised probate process of passing assets through a will can be time consuming and expensive.
One way to avoid probate is to ask an experienced estate planning attorney to help you set up a trust. A frequently used trust is a revocable living trust, which lets you modify the terms if you like.
Individuals with children or real estate can particularly benefit from setting up a trust. A trust allows you to avoid probate and makes certain that your assets are transferred to the intended people. It also lets you control exactly how the money can be used. You can also name someone to take control when you’re not available, known as a secondary trustee.
The executor of a will is really an administrator who transfers assets from one person to another. In contrast, a trustee is more of a decision-maker who will take your place and make decisions you would want to make, if you were still around to make them.
After you set up your estate plan, you should review it every few years.
Reference: Richmond Times-Dispatch (Nov. 19, 2020) “Estate planning during the pandemic”