23 APRIL 2018
I am writing this on tax day and my best TAX advice is ALWAYS PAY THEM! If you get behind, DO NOT WAIT FOR UNCLE SAM TO CALL YOU. Be honest and upfront and you should be ok…eventually. That concludes my tax speech.
This brings us to DEATH. Or in other words, estate planning. This is a very state-specific topic so always check the laws in your state. Perhaps consulting an estate planning and probate attorney is right for you also. We will look at the 3 options out there: 1) Do nothing. 2) Own your assets jointly (with another person) 3) Create a simple will
- Dying without a will is called intestate. ( NOT RECOMMENDED ) Usually, assets pass to any living heirs, but this is an expensive and time consuming process and living minors can end up being cared for in such a way that is without the prior consent of the deceased.
- Joint tenants each share the property and the share of the deceased share would go to his or her living heirs at death. In a joint tenancy with a right of survivorship, the deceased’s share goes to the surviving tenant at death. In a joint tenancy by the entirety, each tenant owns the whole and the survivor would still own the whole estate.
- A simple will is a written declaration of intent regarding how the property of the deceased will be distributed following their death. In most states, the written will must be signed, witnessed, and notarized. The person making the will is the testator and is allowed to re-write the will as often as desired with the most recent will being valid. A guardian for minor children must be selected and a durable Power of Attorney (POA) created for use if one becomes incapacitated. Lists of valuables and sentimental items should be kept along with clear burial and organ donation instructions. Clear location of these documents and instructions should be secured and communicated as early as possible as no one has a guarantee of tomorrow.
This is obviously not a comprehensive list of estate planning options and a quality estate planning attorney should be consulted to cover all bases. Some assets are short and simple, whereas assets like real estate, personal business, mineral rights, and a variety of wide spread houses can make other estates far from simple.
Lighthouse Financial Coaching is an Austin-based company dedicated to helping regular families and individuals become organized with personal finance and begin to win with money and move forward to achieve their financial dreams and goals. Schedule your free introductory consultation today.
Phone: (512) 971-6739