Almost everyone knows that estate planning documents can help to make settling an estate easier when someone passes away. For someone who is the financial head of the family, creating a comprehensive estate plan is vital to ensure that your loved ones are cared for when you aren't there to take care of them. Michigan readers might be interested in reading some tips on how to deal with the loss of a financial leader.
One way to make dealing with an estate after the loss of the financial leader a little easier is to make the financial accounts as simple as possible. You can do this by consolidating your assets when possible. When all the assets that can be consolidated are, make a list of all the assets. Include the names of anyone, such as brokers or advisers, who can be contacted about the assets. Also include the information about the accounts, such as usernames, passwords, account numbers and any other important information.
As you go through those accounts, you should determine if you need to create a trust to help make things easier on your family members. By making a trust, you can consolidate assets even more and possibly help your loved ones avoid the public probate process. You can also help protect your assets from creditors, decide how the assets are divided and possibly reduce estate taxes. If you do create a trust, you should still create a "pour-over" will to go with the trust that spells out your wishes in depth.
Because making decisions for your medical care might be difficult, you should also consider creating a health care directive so your loved ones know your desires. A durable power of attorney should also be considered so you have someone to act on your behalf if you cannot do so yourself.
Questions might come up when you are making these plans. Making sure those questions get answered is vital to ensuring that your estate plan conveys the instructions your wishes.
Source: Forbes.com, "What To Do When Your Family's Financial Boss Dies" No author given, Apr. 28, 2014