Estate planning is not glamorous, but it is necessary to maintain control over what happens to your property after you die. Without a will, your family may remain in limbo during probate while the court decides what to do.
There are some things you can do now to minimize the stress of probate.
Do not keep your wishes a secret
A common mistake is keeping your wishes a secret from the people you are trying to protect. For instance, creating an estate plan and then stashing it away where no one can find it is counterproductive. Instead, consider providing copies to those named in the will for reference and letting them know where the original is so they do not have to search for it.
Do not name an executor who is the spouse of a sibling
You may have a brother-in-law you adore, but what happens if he and your sister divorce? Having an estranged relative as the executor may plunge your estate into troubled water during the probate process. Instead, consider naming a blood relative or neutral third party as the executor.
Do not think you never have to revise your will
A will or any element of your estate plan is typically not a one-time thing. Several life instances should necessitate a change in one or more of your documents, primarily to protect those you love including:
- The birth of a child
- The death of a spouse
- The death of a beneficiary
- The divorce of an executor or beneficiary
- The end of a relationship
You want to go back and amend your will whenever a life event adds or subtracts a family member.
Remaining open-minded about your estate plan as you go through life is crucial to providing for and protecting your loved ones in the future.