If you are looking into estate planning, it can be quite challenging to determine what is important and what isn’t. Whether your estate is absolutely massive or as simple as can be, estate planning is something that you want to do. It can help your family, friends, and business partners to understand what it is that you want to be done with your estate. It can also help to prevent in-fighting over heirlooms, property, money, or businesses. There are so many stories about families that have broken up because they fought over the estate of someone that loved them. It even happens to close families.
So how you can at least try to avoid this? There are some things you may want to consider when you estate plan.
Have You Named A Beneficiary?
When you open a bank account or purchase life insurance, you often have to name a beneficiary. This is the person who will inherit the proceeds when you die. These designations are quite powerful and take precedence over what is stated in a will.
You want to ensure that all of the information is accurate and update it if need be – life changes often dictate the need to add or remove beneficiaries.
Make A Plan To Review It
Many people write an estate plan and then never review it. If you write the plan when you are 50, there is a lot that could have changed by the time you are 80. Consider regular reviews of your estate plan to ensure that everything is up to date. You may also want to make changes when someone passes away, moves away, or there is a change in the relationship.
Does Someone Have Power of Attorney?
One important thing to do when drafting an estate plan is to give someone power of attorney (POA) so that someone can act on your behalf when you are unable to do so. If you do not have a POA, the court system may be left to decide what happens to your estate. By selecting a person or agency to act for you, they will be able to transact real estate, enter into financial transactions, and make other legal decisions for you.
It is important to know that while you are still in sound mind, POA can be revoked at any time. The person who is assigned those privileges can also step away at any time.
For many families, the most obvious choice for power of attorney is the spouse or the oldest child. Sometimes, it can be a financial advisor, a family friend, or a lawyer.
How Should Conflicts Be Handled?
When someone passes away, there are bound to be conflicts no matter what. You can decide to select an executor who has the final say in conflicts. No matter what you decide or whom you choose, you may want to be proactive about addressing the sale of items, how proceeds should be split, or who should take care of what in a business.
Speak To Your Family
One of the most important things that you can do throughout the estate planning process is to talk to your family. If you tell them what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how you will do it, it will prevent problems once you pass away. This is especially important if there are decisions that may surprise your family or loved ones.
Talk To An Estate Planning Professional in South Africa
Many people aren’t comfortable talking to an estate planner because it can be somewhat macabre and upsetting. However, it is a necessary part of life for so many people. If you have a business, children, or loved ones that you care about, this is one final way that you can take care of them. You will be able to save them a lot of stress and confusion. In some ways, it is comforting for them to hear about what you wanted.
It is never too early to start estate planning, even if you don’t have a great deal of money in your bank account. Make sure you work with a professional that has your best interests in mind and can work with you to not only protect you while you are alive but to help preserve your legacy once you have passed.
To get started, schedule an appointment today.