Important Estate Add-Ons to Consider

A simple last will and testament is a good start when it comes to estate planning. Most of the time, though, a will falls short of covering every need. Read on and learn what else you should consider along with your will to create a more complete estate plan.

Set Up Some Simple Ways to Avoid Probate

Just because probate is inevitable doesn't mean you have to have your entire estate involved in it. You can remove certain (large) pieces of property from probate and benefit in several ways. Probate can be expensive, time-consuming, and inconvenient. However, the below easy steps will prevent all of that from happening:

  • Use a special deed – Homes are an important part of a legacy so why not protect it by making an easy adjustment to the deed? You can allow your home to automatically go to your children or anyone else by adding them to the deed with a right of survivorship deed.
  • Use a special account designation – Another easy move is to add a document to your bank accounts and your investments accounts that will send the funds directly to whoever you want after your death. These are known by various names like transfer on death or payable on death designations.
  • Set up a trust – Although a trust is a bit more involved, it can go a long way to ensure that your assets stay out of the probate courts. Property, like vehicles and other possessions, are moved into the trust and are held there away from probate's reach after a death occurs. Trusts are also private, unlike wills.

Attend to Your Pets

It's unwise to use a will to care for beloved pets. The law sees pets as just one more piece of property and that means your efforts to leave your pet any property will be wasted. However, you can set up a special pet trust that pays someone, who you appoint, to care for your pet after you pass away.

Get Burial Wishes Covered

So-called pre-need plans are arrangements made with funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemeteries covering the final wishes of the deceased. You can pay for all of those in advance and leave the information in an easily accessible place for your loved ones to find. Using a last will and testament for this purpose could cause delays and place a hardship on your loved ones.

To learn more about the above ways to make your estate easier to handle for loved ones, speak to an estate lawyer.