Estate planning is a complex process. Determining which assets to include in your estate can be confusing and stressful. Protecting what you own and passing everything down to your loved ones after you die is crucial. You should evaluate your assets and list them in your will with designated beneficiaries, so they transfer according to your wishes.
Below are significant assets you should consider while planning your estate.
Real estate includes property, such as primary residences, rental properties, vacation homes, and land. You should decide who you want to receive these assets after you pass away. List each piece of real estate you own in your estate plan with a specific beneficiary. This specificity can prevent confusion for your executor when they have to distribute your estate to your heirs.
You should also establish a plan for financial obligations associated with the real estate you leave behind. For example, many people have mortgages. Dying before paying it off means the beneficiary will likely be on the hook for payment. You can set aside money in trust and designate your loved one as the beneficiary so they can afford to pay the mortgage.
People often forget cars, boats, and other vehicles when making estate plans. However, these are among the most common assets people own. You should consider whether you want a family member or friend to assume ownership when you die.
You could use joint ownership with a right of survivorship for your motor vehicles. You can choose someone else to be on the title. Ownership will automatically transfer to them upon your death.
You can include money in your estate plan for your beneficiaries to access after your death. You should list your bank accounts, retirement plans, life insurance policies, and other assets to distribute to your loved ones. They can use the funds to pay final medical bills, funeral and burial costs, and other expenses.
You might own a business you want someone else to run when you die. The person you want to take over your business can start learning what they need to know and prepare for the future. Creating a succession plan is beneficial. It ensures a smooth transition without interrupting daily operations.
Your estate plan can include instructions on selling the business if you don’t want operations to continue after your death. You can advise your beneficiaries to split the proceeds from the sale equally or by a specific percentage.
If you have investment accounts, such as stocks or bonds, they can transfer to named beneficiaries when you pass away. You might want to include a transfer on death (TOD) designation on these accounts. You can control your investments while you’re alive. If you have a TOD, ownership will transfer automatically upon your death. Your beneficiaries don’t have to go through probate to receive the accounts during estate administration.
You should include personal belongings in your will even if they don’t have significant monetary value. You might have a unique family heirloom you want your child to have or a collection of paintings made by a family member to leave to someone who appreciates art. Don’t forget collections, such as crystal, jewelry, or weaponry. List every personal item you want to be distributed to your beneficiaries to ensure they’re not overlooked.
Speak to an Experienced Virginia Beach Estate Planning Attorney
At Anchor Legal Group, PLLC, we understand the importance of caring for your family even after you’re gone. You want to protect them by securing their financial future. Estate planning is the most beneficial method of ensuring your loved ones receive the assets you leave behind. We can help you create a comprehensive estate plan and the necessary legal documents to carry it out.
If you want to learn more about the assets you should include in your estate plan, call us at 757-529-0000 for a confidential consultation today.