It is only natural for people to not want to think about their own demise. Life is to be lived, after all, and we all want the most out of it. But not having the most basic estate plan in place is simply passing on a big headache to your children or other heirs. You can save them a tremendous amount of time and money simply by taking a little action now.
It is also very likely that it will not take much of your time or money, either. A simple will, and perhaps a simple trust, is often enough for most people. It has to be done properly to be rock solid, but it is more than worth it for your family.
Start with a will
For the vast majority of people, there is not much more to estate planning than having a properly drawn up will. Outlining who is in charge of your estate and where your major assets go will take a few moments out of your life but save hours of expensive court time when you are gone.
There are many excuses for not putting your estate in order, and chief among them is that it will be complicated and expensive. That is rarely the case. If you don’t have a lot of assets or any intricate business relationships, it is very likely that your estate needs can be well served by a simple will.
It’s important that it be done properly for the biggest benefit to your heirs, so it is worth it to have an attorney help you draft it. The cost is not very high and you can be sure it is legally valid. Many people try to do it themselves in an effort to save money, but that can defeat the purpose if it is not done properly and does not take everything into account.
A simple trust
If your children are still under 18, a minor trust may be a good way to protect the assets that you set for them until they are adults. This can include your life insurance, and all other provisions that will help them grow up, go to college, and make a good start in life should you meet with some tragedy. They are also very simple to set up.
The most difficult part of this is designating who will be the trustee for these assets and be responsible for your children’s financial well-being in your absence. It can often help to have a conversation with an estate planning so that you clearly understand the duties and demands of this role. That alone can help you decide who you trust with this responsibility.
Is there more?
A living will, outlining who will be responsible for your care if something should happen, can also save a lot of stress at a time of grief. You may also want to consider setting up a long term care plan for when you are retired. These may take more time to consider and may be more involved. But having that initial conversation today can help these to move forward as well and give you greater peace of mind.
For many people, there is not much more to it than that. It can be very simple and not very expensive at all to have a few basic documents together to be sure that your family is taken care of. There is no good reason to put it off any longer.