- Proper estate planning ensures family members are cared for, and assets are secure after death.
- Only 13% of Americans had made any estate plan, with less than 40% having discussed it with family members.
- Families can experience emotional and financial strain without proper preparation for asset transfer.
- Asset identification, knowing beneficiaries, and legal writing are necessary to transfer assets to loved ones.
- Hiring a probate lawyer can help families navigate any potential issues or disputes during this time.
Transferring assets to loved ones is essential to preparing for the last days of one’s life. Proper estate planning can help ensure that family members are taken care of and will not have to worry about asset distribution in the event of a person’s death. Unfortunately, many people do not prepare to ensure their assets are secure and transferred appropriately after death.
In fact, according to a survey from Caring.com, only 33% percent of Americans had made any sort of estate plan, with only 36% having discussed it with family members. Even among those aged 65 and older, only 39% had created an official program. Without proper preparation, families can experience significant emotional and financial strain when trying to sort out the wishes outlined by a deceased loved one.
Particularly in cases where no will has been written or any kind of legal document outlining transfer instructions, sorting out assets can become complicated and costly as families may be required to hire legal advisors to assess what should happen during this time. Furthermore, disagreements are more likely among family members over who gets what item or asset following death without knowing someone’s wishes beforehand.
Leaving your assets to your family ensures that your wishes are followed even after passing. Here are a few ways to do this:
Identify Your Assets
Asset identification may seem tedious, but it’s an essential part of estate planning and cannot be overlooked. Knowing your assets and how they should be distributed is critical to ensuring your wishes are fulfilled after death. It can also save your family from significant headaches and legal costs of figuring out this information independently.
When creating an estate plan, several categories of assets must be considered to ensure nothing is missed. Here are four key areas to examine when preparing for asset transfer:
Real estate includes any land or buildings owned by an individual or business. This would consist of homes, vacation, commercial, and rental properties. All mortgages must be paid off before transferring ownership to go through correctly.
Financial assets refer to bank accounts, stocks, bonds, and other investments held by the person or business of which they are the owner. It’s essential to ensure all financial statements are up-to-date and that any money owed is paid off before transferring ownership.
Personal possessions refer to items such as jewelry, artworks, furniture, and collectibles with sentimental and financial value. Pictures should be taken of these items for proper documentation before transferring them so that everyone involved knows precisely what is being given away or kept within the family.
Business interests refer to any ownership stakes held by an individual in a company that he/she owns or co-owns with others. All documents outlining ownership percentages must be updated before transferring any stake, and all taxes should be paid prior.
Know Your Beneficiaries
Knowing your beneficiaries is an essential part of estate planning and asset transfer. Beneficiaries are the individuals or entities that will inherit assets after a person’s death. By clearly identifying who should receive which asset, there is less risk of assets going to unintended recipients or being contested in court. Furthermore, knowing the beneficiaries can help families avoid lengthy probate proceedings and potentially costly legal fees for sorting out these matters after death.
Keeping records and documenting all designated beneficiaries is essential to ensure that assets are transferred according to one’s wishes. If there are multiple beneficiaries, keeping track of the percentages or amounts they should receive and any restrictions that may be in place when the asset is transferred is also necessary. It may be helpful to consult a lawyer or financial advisor to ensure all documents and paperwork are correctly filled out for each beneficiary.
Get It in Legal Writing
Writing a will is an essential step in estate planning, but it is far from the only one. Hiring a probate lawyer can help ensure that all assets are transferred according to the wishes of the deceased and that beneficiaries receive them properly.
A probate lawyer will review the will and any other documents related to asset transfer. They can also guide how to appropriately transfer ownership of the real estate, financial assets, and other possessions listed in the will so that they are legally valid. In addition, they can help families navigate any potential issues regarding tax liabilities or disputes that may arise during this time.
This type of specialized attorney can also help identify any potential ambiguities in the will or document language, which could cause confusion or unnecessary delays in transferring assets. For example, if a beneficiary is not identified in the document or there is conflicting information between different documents associated with an estate, a probate lawyer can help clarify these matters and resolve any disputes quickly and legally.
Transferring assets to loved ones is a complex but necessary process. Understanding your assets, preparing proper estate planning documents, and hiring an attorney can help ensure that your wishes are followed even after death. This will give families peace of mind knowing their loved one’s legacy is safe and secure. When done correctly, this process can ensure family members receive what was intended without any financial or legal burden during a trying time. Putting in the effort to plan can make all the difference for those left behind.