Maintain Control of Your Assets After You’re Gone
So far, you've worked hard to get where you are, financially and otherwise. You've done everything possible to scrimp and save every possible dollar. You've done everything smart people told you to do, and you can look back and smile.
So, why do so many hard-working people like you want to suddenly hand over control of everything to complete strangers when it's all over and you pass on?
If you have worked that hard, you are happy with what you have so far and you expect that to grow over time, you're probably thinking, "I don't want to do that." You probably want to exercise as much control as possible over what happens to your assets when you are gone. And if you have a family, they will already be emotionally devastated when you die. Surely, you don't want to hand them the added stress of having to determine what to do with your assets, if they even have a choice at all.
The best way to continue to control your assets after you die is to work up a comprehensive estate plan. Estate planning is just for the rich; even people who aren’t millionaires often have a lot of assets, especially in this day and age. If you consider how many of your assets come in the form of ones and zeroes on a computer or server, it can be fairly daunting. There are several strategies available to you so that you can make sure your assets are distributed in a timely way, based on your wishes, rather than some one-size-fits-all model that the state might come with, and which may not have relevance to you or your loved ones. Everyone is different; don't feel as if you have to fit a certain mold.
The goal of any estate plan should be the same, however; to make the process of probate much easier and shorter for your loved ones. The probate process is often tedious and full of legalese. After you die, there are a series of steps to be taken. Your will is filed with the probate court, then appraisals are made of your property. After that, there is an attempt to pay all legal debts. All of that happens before distributing whatever assets and property are left. Without the road map a good estate plan brings, the probate process can be long and expensive. With one, things will go far more smoothly for your heirs.
Don't settle, though. Since it's the last thing you will ever do for your family, you'll want to make sure you do it right. Do your homework, and take the time to explore all of your options with a licensed estate planning attorney. In the long run, the peace of mind will be worth whatever you spend. Avoid fast-talking salespeople making pitches of quick and easy estate planning tools. This is not a simple process. It requires a lot of care and attention to detail. Just as taking care of your loved ones while you're alive takes time and care, taking care of them in death takes the same type of effort.