A real estate plan is comprised of legal documents and instructions that tell the designated successor, such as a spouse, children, or trusted family members. Time is of the essence. You need to consult with an attorney and get started while you are healthy and strong enough so that your wishes are taken care of according to your real estate plan.
This step-by-step guide will help you avoid any confusion when creating your plan and save time and money in case of death or mental incompetency, which could be fatal if you do not have a proper estate plan.
- Hire An Attorney For Your Case
Getting a lawyer is a very necessary step and can be done online, and if you are smart enough, you can do it from your home in the meantime. Make sure that you have decided on a good lawyer who also has experience with real estate matters and tax-related issues. If you have not yet established an attorney, consider doing some research on the Internet, asking your friends or neighbors, or looking up the nearest law firm.
- Organize All Your Assets
The next step is to draw up the names and addresses of all those people you would like to include in your estate plan. Create a list of all your assets, including inheritable properties, bank accounts, investments, and third-party beneficiaries.
It is best to include everyone who has a stake in your family’s future and your heirs, from the children to the pets. Also, make sure that you name every person who receives an inheritance as well as every business entity (such as a real estate company). You can always take help from someone who is an expert in setting up your estate plan.
- Keep Your Will Regularly Updated
Once you have drawn up this list of people and entities, it is important to keep it current. You can use a simple spreadsheet or document editor software to add or revise information anytime. It is also important to keep track of these assets and to monitor their values at all times. You should also create a list of your assets and the people who are receiving inheritances so that you will be familiar with the details.
- Set Up Financial Assets in Trust
It is very important to set up your own trust, which is a legal entity separate from yourself that you are the owner of or have a beneficial interest in. A family member can maintain a trust fund or by an attorney and any third party you choose to include in your plan. Most people are not aware that the tax laws allow for this kind of planning.
This way, there will be no questions about who gets what when you die.
There are hundreds of professionals and books out there, so do your research before making a final decision. You also have to make sure that your estate plan is fair and equitable and will be carried out in case of your death or mental incompetence.