For many families, the death of a loved one is followed by family squabbling over possessions. In a previous blog, we discussed the importance of having a will, which should designate who inherits certain possessions. Today we will discuss ways to simplify the distribution of your property.
What Happens To Your Property When You Pass Away
When you die, your estate goes through the legal process known as probate, which may assess probate taxes and accrue legal fees. Having a will, with an executor in place, helps the process go smoothly. if you die intestate, without a will, the court appoints an executor, at greater cost to your estate.
With careful estate planning, you can get around most probate fees by designating beneficiaries on life insurance policies and registered investments, or holding your assets jointly with someone else, so that full ownership passes to them upon death.
If you specified how you want your property distributed, a court-appointed executor gives it to the next of kin after subtracting debts and fees owed to the court. A same-sex partner or significant other has no legal standing to receive your property.
A Will makes sure that your property goes to those you want to receive it. You can even specify that money goes to a favorite charity.
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If you own a considerable amount of property or other assets, you should hire a lawyer to ensure that your estate passes to your heirs with minimal taxes. For a simple estate, use a Will kit.
Simplifying Property Distribution
Your heirs may not like how things get distributed. If you own a large estate, families can argue over who gets small items that you own. Few Wills list every possession someone has.
Grieving family members may argue over a box of recipes, family photos, or a special vase you did not specifically bequeath to a child or other family member. How can you simplify your estate to prevent family drama after your death?
How can you simplify your estate to prevent family drama after your death? Below find a few tips to keep in mind.
– Routinely declutter your home, so that you own fewer possessions for your heirs to worry about. Before you donate or sell furnishings, ask your children or other family members if they want your items.
– Considering that many items in your home do not interest your kids or other heirs, do not hold on to things you don’t use.
– For other items of value, consider passing them along now so you can see them enjoying something that you love.
– To prevent arguments over heirlooms or other sentimental items, label them or at least make a list of who gets what.
– Keep your Will, power of attorney, and final wishes current.
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Roy Thomas SRES® (Senior’s Real Estate Specialist) is a REALTOR® with Sutton Group Professional Realty. Since 1991, Roy specializes in helping retirees with their later in life real estate transactions. Call Roy at 902-497-3031 or contact Roy here