What is estate planning? It’s preparing in advance how you’d like to transfer your wealth and property to children and loved ones after you pass away. It may not be the cheeriest topic you’ll ever discuss, but it is without question one of the most important.
If someone dies without a will, for example, the handling of their estate typically falls to the court system. That can create legal and financial headaches that take years for survivors, including family, spouses and loved ones, to resolve.
Origin Bank encourages all families to take part in at least basic estate planning, even if it seems you don’t have many assets. Houses or cars you own are among those assets, along with any bank accounts, retirement savings, investments, business interests or life insurance proceeds. Your plan should also take into account any outstanding debt, like a mortgage, credit cards or college loans.
In any case, estate planning doesn’t have to be gloomy. Quite the contrary, it’s about setting goals, protecting your accomplishments, choosing your own outcomes and ensuring your family’s security.
Here are five simple estate planning tips from the Origin experts.
1. Make a will.
Remember, this is only part of estate planning, but it’s critical. Your will states how your property is divided among heirs. If your children are minors, your will specifies who serves as their guardian and who manages the property inherited from you until they become adults.
2. Get life insurance.
If you have young children, own a house or carry significant debt, life insurance is critical.
3. Estate-planning covers a range of methods to protect your property. Use them.
Small measures can make a big difference, like naming a beneficiary for your bank accounts, investments or retirement savings. If you pass away unexpectedly, your beneficiary has easier access to the account.
4. Make a health care directive.
This document, sometimes called a living will, states your preferences for health care and end-of-life care if you become unable to make those decisions yourself. Living wills are often combined with a document offering durable power of attorney, which appoints someone to make your end-of-life decisions if you can’t.
5. Choose someone for financial power of attorney.
This ensures that your finances and property are handled according to your wishes if you become unable to make decisions.
A few extra tips: Keep your estate planning documents safe and secure. Provide a copy to your attorney or your executor, the person named in your will who administers your property when you pass away. Always consult your lawyer, estate planning professional or financial advisor for more detailed or case-specific information.
Any estate plan starts by simply talking to your loved ones. Origin bankers are here to help get the conversation started and provide products that protect your assets while increasing their value over time. Contact us by phone, online or visit your nearest banking center to learn more.