• Create a will to determine who will receive which assets after you pass away and appoint a guardian of any dependents.
• Update beneficiary designations regularly, especially if there are any changes to the policyholder’s marital status or financial situation.
• Create durable powers of attorney to appoint someone else to act on your behalf in certain matters.
• Trusts allow assets to pass directly from one generation to another without passing through probate court and provide tax benefits.
• Protect digital assets by updating login information and making provisions for who will control these after you pass away.
Planning for the future of your family is an essential part of life. It’s also a complex task that involves more than just saving money and making investments. Establishing a legal plan to protect your estate can save your family time, money, and stress when it comes time to settle your affairs. Here are the legal steps you can take to protect your estate for your family.
Create a Will
Creating a will is one of the most important steps you can take in protecting your estate. A will clearly states who will receive which assets after you pass away, as well as who will be appointed guardian of any minor children or dependents you may have. Without a will in place, state law determines how assets are divided and who will be responsible for taking care of dependents.
Update Beneficiary Designations
Beneficiary designations determine where assets such as retirement accounts or life insurance policies go when the policyholder passes away. These designations must be updated regularly, especially if there have been changes to the policyholder’s marital status or financial situation. Be sure to review these designations every few years—or whenever there is any significant change in the household—so that they stay current and accurate.
Create Durable Powers of Attorney
A durable power of attorney (POA) is a document that appoints someone else—called an “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”—to act on your behalf in a certain business or financial matters if you become incapacitated or unable to act for yourself. Durable POAs can also specify how certain things should be handled in the event of death, such as paying bills, closing accounts, filing taxes, etc., so make sure these powers are specified clearly within the document itself.
Trusts provide additional protection to estate planning by allowing assets to pass directly from one generation to another without passing through probate court first. They also provide tax benefits not available with other estate planning documents, and they can help reduce potential disputes between beneficiaries while still protecting individual rights and interests.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that you need to employ the help of an experienced family lawyer specializing in estate planning to assist you in creating a will, updating beneficiary designations, creating durable powers of attorney, and establishing trusts. When looking for a lawyer, choose one from a reliable legal firm like the attorneys in Lewis & Matthews, P.C.. They can help you create a comprehensive estate plan tailored to your needs and ensure everything is drafted and executed correctly. This way, you can rest assured that your family will be taken care of in the event of your passing.
Protect Digital Assets
In this day and age, it’s essential not only to protect physical assets but digital ones too! Here are a few of the most common digital assets you should know about and how you can best protect them:
Social media accounts
Make sure you update your login information and make provisions regarding who should be able to access these accounts after you pass away. Additionally, consider who in your family would be best suited to manage them on an ongoing basis.
Online banking and investing accounts
Again, make sure these accounts are updated with the correct login information, and be sure to assign successor trustees or agents in case anything happens to you. Also, check if there are any laws regarding digital asset inheritance with your local probate court.
Digital music, photos, and other online content
Make sure to update any login information and provide access to a trusted individual so they can manage your digital content if necessary. You should also consider using cloud storage to keep this content safe.
Make sure you keep track of any domain names associated with your estate and make provisions for who will control these domains after you pass away.
By protecting your digital assets, you can ensure that your family’s digital legacy will be taken care of for years to come.
Overall, it’s essential to ensure that you have a comprehensive estate plan so your family can be taken care of after you pass away. Creating a will, updating beneficiary designations, creating durable powers of attorney, and establishing trusts are all essential to protecting your physical assets.
Additionally, don’t forget about digital asset protection by taking the necessary measures outlined above, such as making provisions regarding social media accounts or domain names. Finally, remember to employ the help of an experienced lawyer from a reliable legal firm who specializes in estate planning so they can assist you with drafting everything correctly and ensuring that nothing is left out when setting up your estate plan.