Protecting your family by creating an estate plan requires thoughtful planning and decision-making. As part of the estate planning process, you need to determine who your beneficiaries are, and you need to make a list of all your assets. Once those steps are you need to decide who gets what, and specific what things will go to which person after your death. Here are some questions you can ask to guide you in dividing your assets amongst your heirs.
Have you thought about your feelings about dividing your assets? Once you decide your philosophy and goals for deciding who gets what, it will be easier for you to actually name which heir gets which asset.
1. Will all your heirs have the same opinions about what is “fair?”
2. Are your heirs approximately the same age with the same level of need?
3. Is there a family business to consider?
4. Do you want your heirs to get an equal inheritance and should your estate be divided equally between your beneficiaries?
5. Do any of your heirs want sentimental or family heirlooms?
6. Have any of your beneficiaries stated a wish to inherit specific property?
7. How will taxes and probate impact their inheritance?
• You have made an asset inventory and assigned a value to each asset.
• You have chosen your beneficiaries.
• You have decided what is a fair way to divide your assets between your beneficiaries.
Once you determine what is fair and how you want to divide your assets between your heirs, the next step is to assign each asset to a specific beneficiary. There are 3 key ways to assign your assets to your beneficiaries.
1. Sell Everything
Have your executor sell all of your assets and distribute the money based on the shares you have decided should go to your heirs. For example, you may want each child and your spouse to have equal shares, or you may want your spouse to have 50% and your children to equally divide the rest, or you may want all the money to go to a charity. you want it to be sold and the proceeds to be distributed to your heirs?
2. Assign Each Asset On Your Inventory
Each asset on your inventory has a value. You can assign each item on your inventory to a specific heir. This includes all your financial accounts, property, businesses, investments and stuff.
3. Let Your Executor Divide Your Assets
Leave instructions and criteria for your executor to divide and distribute your assets. This option can leave your executor vulnerable to family disputes, so if you choose to let your executor divide your assets make sure they have guidance to follow.
However you decide to leave your assets to your beneficiaries, it’s important that you have the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure your wishes are legally documented and enforceable.
Estate planning is preparing for the future. Contact Estate & Probate Legal Group in Lombard Illinois today at 630-864-5835.
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