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Top 5 factors to consider when planning an Estate

Estate planning involves the consideration, review and management of your personal and business affairs so that your intentions are carried out when you pass away. For some, Estate planning can be quite simple and only involve the creation of a Will. For others with complex family or business arrangements, the Estate planning process may require more consideration and further documents.

1. Your financial situation

When planning an Estate it is important to consider and have an accurate assessment of your current and anticipated financial situation and value of your assets. The consideration of your financial situation should also include an assessment of factors that may affect the value of your assets and finances in the future. This may include;

  • The cost of retirement

  • Unexpected and significant expenses, such as those related to illness

  • Other anticipated expenses

  • Debts yet to have been paid

  • Superannuation

A common error made when planning an Estate is to fail to take into consideration the impact of debts and taxes. This may mean that your beneficiaries receive a an amount that is less than you intended, and in other cases may mean that your beneficiaries become liable for any debt that you have accrued. It is therefore important to gain a clear understanding of these unexpected costs when preparing your estate. Get an estimate for the costs from an estate planning attorney Orange County California.

2. Who you trust to serve as the executor of your Estate or your power of attorney

Choosing an appropriate person to handle your Estate is a monumental decision, affecting not only yourself but your family and other beneficiaries. The executor of your Estate must be someone who can objectively handle the extensive duties and demands that are required, therefore they should not have a personal interest in your estate. Similarly, if your Estate includes the appointment of a legal power of attorney, it is important to choose someone that you can trust to make important medical, financial and personal decisions on your behalf. Once you have chosen an executor or a power of attorney, it is important to then inform them of their appointment and keep them informed of your wishes should they be called to make decisions on your behalf.

3. Anticipated beneficiaries

One of the most important considerations to make in the Estate planning process is who you intend to be the beneficiaries of your Estate and also importantly, whether this list of beneficiaries is likely to change in the future as a result of births, deaths and divorces.

4.  Dependents

Estate planning is an important way of ensuring that your family and dependents are financially secure when you die. When planning your Estate it is therefore important to ensure that your dependents have been adequately provided for in the Will or other documents. This may also mean that you have considered who will have guardianship of your children when you pass away.  If dependents are not adequately provided for, they make have legal grounds to contest the Estate later.

5. What documents your Estate requires

Estate planning involves many documents including a;

  • Will

  • Enduring Power of Attorney

  • Discretionary or Testamentary trust if required

A  Discretionary or Testamentary Trust may be useful if your estate involves the consideration of any current or future children and grandchildren. Your plans may also include an Advance Health Care Directive, which allows medical treatment decisions to be transferred to another person if you become seriously ill or injured. This provides you with an opportunity to provide a clear indication of your wishes in the event that you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.

Preparing your Estate in consultation with an experienced lawyer can ensure that you have carefully considered these key factors before finalising your Estate plans.

Bio: Laura Costello is in her fourth year of a Bachelor of Law/International Relations at Latrobe University. She is passionate about the law, the power of social media, and the ability to translate her knowledge of both common and complex legal topics to readers across a variety of mediums, in a way that is easy to understand.

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