By North Carolina Trust and Estates Lawyer, Dennis Toman
Death or incapacity can creep up on anyone. If you’re not prepared, your family could bear a heavier burden when handling your estate or financial affairs. Here are five tips to help everyone lighten the load.
Make an Estate Plan
One of the most important things you can do to get your affairs in order is to either make an estate plan or update your current estate plan. This way, you will have the proper protections and documents in case you become incapacitated such as a Power of Attorney and Living Will, or if you should pass away such as a Last Will and Testament, and Revocable Living Trust.
Fund your Trust or Name Beneficiaries
To avoid probate issues, you should properly fund your Revocable Living Trust. In addition, you should check that all your other financial accounts and policies have beneficiaries named on them. Remember, if leave assets to any underage beneficiaries, a guardian must be named as well to be in charge of the accounts and so that is a reason to leave assets to a trust for younger beneficiaries. Failing to take these steps means your accounts will go into your probate estate, and it may be a long process before the estate is settled.
Review Your Accounts
It’s a good idea to review previous actions for titling accounts and naming beneficiaries. You can work with a North Carolina trust and estates attorney to set up a schedule of how often to review your accounts so you know they’re where you want them to be.
Protect Your Assets
There are numerous strategies you can use to protect your assets in the event of a lawsuit, creditor situation, divorce, or if you need to enter into a long-term care facility. Annuity planning, irrevocable trusts, and other forms of asset protection planning are available, and you can discuss these with a qualified North Carolina trust and estates lawyer.
Leave Information About Your Documents
If you become incapacitated or pass away, it’s important that your loved ones can find and access your important documents. This will allow them to handle your financial affairs or settle your estate if needed. You may also want to leave a list of all your important passwords and online accounts in case anything needs to be done with them in your absence.
If you would like to get more information about estate planning or if you’d like to discuss your existing estate plan and how it matches up with your current situation, please set up an appointment at our North Carolina trust and estates law office by calling (336) 378-1122.