A shockingly low number (30%) of individuals in the US have any form of estate plan. These individuals may think they have more time or they do not have the money or assets necessary to build a plan.
However, if you have any form of land or property, e.g., you own your home or have other real estate investments, you need a well-written estate plan.
Write out your inventory
Your first task includes writing out a list of all your assets. Include any valuable possessions, financial accounts and securities, insurance, real estate and businesses.
When you have land, get the full description of the property. Your property deed has this information, but if you do not have access to your deed, contact the county clerk or deed recorder offices.
Write a trust
The probate process is lengthy and expensive, especially if you have significant assets. One of the best ways to avoid this process is by placing your assets in trust. This is especially valuable for property holdings because you still retain control while you live, but they transfer automatically to your designated heir upon your death, avoiding executor, legal, inventory and other fees, including taxes.
Using a trust also maintains your privacy, which can help prevent arguments among your beneficiaries.
Choose powers of attorney
If you become incapacitated in any way, you need someone to make decisions for you. Therefore, consider naming legal and financial powers of attorney. These individuals can step into your position and do things such as buy or sell your property, so make sure you can trust them and that they know your desires.
High-asset estate plans or those with real estate holdings require special considerations. Take the time to set yours up properly and review and revise it regularly.