By Sidne Gunn
The Most Important Estate Planning Tip
Don’t put it off: The best estate planning tip is to have one. Take the time now while you are clear and competent to consider the elements of your overall plan for the management of your assets and your care in the event of misfortune to avoid having a court or the state step in and do it for you.
A will is not enough
A will, written and signed properly, directs “who’s in charge” and “who gets what” from your assets at the date of death…but it’s of no use before you die…it doesn’t avoid probate of your estate, and if you become incompetent, it doesn’t control your assets or designate who can make health care decisions for you.
Fund Your Trust
You can use trusts as a useful tool to manage your assets during your life and following your death, avoiding the time and expense of the Probate Court. Trusts, however, only manage those assets that you transfer into trust. Accordingly, once your trust is complete, be sure to transfer your assets into your trust.
Protection from Creditors
Safeguard your assets: if you have concerns about your creditors or your children’s’ creditors, consider transferring your assets to a trust to limit creditor access to your assets.
Update Your Estate Plan
Keep current: Be sure to review your estate planning documents every three years or so to ensure they are still current. Changes in personal circumstances, economic fortunes and tax laws may warrant revisions.