Settling your estate could be a source of contention if family members do not agree with the decisions made by the executor. To avoid conflict, it is important that you carefully plan now for what happens when you pass away. To ensure you do not miss any aspect, here are some steps you can take during estate planning.
Pre-Arrange Your Funeral
Part of your estate planning should include pre-arranging your funeral. If you are unsure whether or not pre-arranging your own services is a good idea, there are several benefits to consider.
One of the biggest is that the cost of your services will be covered. This helps to take the financial burden off the family and avoid arguments about who is responsible for paying.
You also have the security of knowing that the funeral services are just as you want. You can arrange every detail, including writing the obituary and choosing what hymns are sung. A funeral home can help you create a complete and perfect plan.
Create a Will
Your will serves as a final statement of your wishes when it comes to the distribution of your assets. Before creating your will, you need to understand what it can and cannot be used to do.
For instance, you cannot use your will to distribute jointly owned property, change the beneficiary of an insurance policy, or name who is the heir to any payable-on-death bank accounts you own.
The insurance policy and bank account already has beneficiaries listed. If you want to designate someone else, you need to contact your financial institutions to update your beneficiary.
By contrast, you can leave property that is solely owned by you and designate who will serve as guardians to any children you have. You can also provide for your pets. You cannot leave money to pets, but to the person who is responsible for caring for the pet.
Create a Living Trust
If you are interested in helping your executor and beneficiaries avoid probate, consider creating a living trust. The assets you leave to the trust would be distributed through it and not have to go through the court.
There are different types of living trusts available, so it is important to work with an estate planning attorney to pinpoint the right one for you.
Consider consulting with a funeral home director (like those at Ryan-Parke Funeral Home) and estate planning attorney to find other ways you can create plans for your estate that will help to avoid conflict between your family.