If you own a property, estate planning is something you will do at some point in your life. Especially, if you are a senior citizen, you might have already started wondering how to allocate your assets, be it your land, house, car, or even money in your bank account, and where to look for help.
The most important thing that you’ll need for estate planning is an executor or an estate planning lawyer. Whom to choose depends mostly on where you live.
In this article, we have covered everything you need to know about estate planning.
What is Estate Planning?
The process of arranging tasks to handle a person’s assets in incapacity or death is known as estate planning. Everything from transferring assets to heirs to paying estate taxes is part of the planning process.
The majority of estate plans are developed with the help of a lawyer who specializes in estate planning. You can also reach out to specialized firms for this purpose. An example is McLaren Law Firm in New Orleans.
Let’s check out what estate planning for seniors entails:
- Deciding how a person’s possessions will be kept, managed, and distributed when they die or become incompetent.
- Making a will, establishing trusts, and/or arranging charitable gifts to reduce inheritance taxes, appointing an executor and beneficiaries, and making funeral arrangements are all examples of planning responsibilities.
- A will is a legal document that specifies how an individual’s property and, if applicable, the custody of young children should be handled after death.
- Various strategies, such as trusts and charitable donations, can reduce estate taxes.
How Can An Executioner Help?
If you are a senior or looking to help your elderly parents, there are several things you should consider. One of the most critical considerations elderly people make when putting together an estate plan is who will be their estate’s executor.
An executor’s job is to administer a person’s estate. To minimize family turmoil and to ensure that the individual’s final wishes are carried out, it’s vital to hire the right person for the task.
Of course, your executor should be someone you trust, but what other qualities should you look for? Start your estate planning early and consider the following factors before making a choice.
1) Choose an Executor Who Lives Nearby
First and foremost, your executor should be near you, both in terms of your connection and geographically.
While dealing with your estate from afar isn’t impossible, it might be more challenging. Therefore, an executor will be someone who ideally lives in your neighborhood.
You could already have a spouse or child in mind when it comes to your relationship. If not, you might be able to enlist the help of a trusted friend. For example, if you live in New Orleans, it’s best if your executor lives in the same state. For any urgent changes or paperwork, it would be really difficult for someone who lives in Florida.
2) It is Preferable That Your Executor is Young and Healthy
If the individual is close to your age or in bad health, a spouse or friend may not be the best choice. It could be better to ask someone who will be there after you’re gone, such as a younger person in good health.
3) Your Executor Should Know Basic Finances
Your executor must have experience managing money, negotiating with financial institutions, and keeping thorough records. They’ll have to meet a lot of deadlines as well.
The ideal executor is trustworthy, honest, patient, well-organized, and capable of handling much paperwork.
4) Make Sure Your Executor is Willing to Help
You could have the perfect person in mind, but you’re unsure if they’ll have the time or motivation to go through the lengthy probate process. Being an executor can sound fun but can get heavy on someone if they are not 100% willing to help as it involves a ton of responsibilities.
If your designated executor declines, the court will appoint someone else. If your executor has little experience with financial or legal issues, they must be ready to research and learn about the estate settlement process.
5) Your Executor Should Be Open-Minded
Your executor should be open to learning new things if they don’t know something. You must pick someone who will seek out professional help when necessary.
Whether or not your executor has prior financial experience, they must feel at ease requesting professional assistance when necessary. They should be able to hire an accountant or an attorney at your estate’s expense if they require help with the probate procedure.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, even if your executor is open-minded, they should have strong opinions and are not easily influenced by others. It is quite common that there would be issues within the family and when it comes to allocating possessions, the family members may interfere.
A naive executor can be a huge problem in this case. So make sure your executor can keep their calm, listen to what family members have to say, and then make a decision on their own according to will.
Choosing a Third-Party Executor
If you still can’t determine who should be your estate’s executor, consider appointing a third-party executor, such as an estate planning lawyer. They are professionals and experienced and can help you out with figuring out the estate plan that would be the most fruitful for you.
Even though they will charge you some fees, they are sure to get your job done perfectly.
Estate planning is crucial for everyone but can be quite confusing. If you are a senior, it would be much more of a hassle for you to make sense of all the legalities.
The most important thing is to get a trustworthy and helpful executor who will be there to help you and make allocations according to your wish when you are gone.
If you don’t think someone in your family or friends would not make a good choice, opt for a professional lawyer who can make the best moves on behalf of your possessions.