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How to Properly Plan Your Estate

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When you’re ready to plan for the division of your assets after you pass away, working with an experienced estate lawyer can help you ensure that every important aspect is covered.

This way, the probate process will go more quickly and your family can grieve without having to worry about dividing your assets fairly. Below, we have outlined the most important aspects of estate planning.

What You Need to Know About Your Will

You probably want to make sure your assets go to certain family members. The best way to go about this is by making your will and testament. You will also be able to designate the caregiver of your minor children, the executor of your estate, and the person who will be responsible for caring for your property.

When you don’t have a will, the court will appoint an executor to make decisions about who will be given what upon your death. Usually, the court will look for close family members, but if no one is immediately available, the state can seize possession of your assets.

When writing your will, it can be beneficial to include a no-contest clause, which means assigned beneficiaries will not be allowed to contest your will. A no-contest clause will help ensure that your assets go where they’re supposed to.

In Delaware, you can prevalidate your will before you die so the court is aware that you were clear-headed when making the decisions outlined in your will.

Structuring an Inheritance

An inheritance can be structured in a couple of ways. Most people choose to distribute their assets among their heirs, or beneficiaries. Once your estate has been through probate, your beneficiary will become the owner of the assets you’ve assigned to him or her.

The other way you can structure your inheritance is by placing your assets in a trust fund. When you choose this option, you’ll be able to either allow your heirs to withdraw their assets as they see fit or make it so they are unable to withdraw assets until they reach a particular age—usually eighteen.

Your Healthcare Proxy and Power of Attorney

After you’ve written your will and structured your inheritance, you’ll want to consider designating a healthcare proxy and durable power of attorney.

A healthcare proxy is someone who is responsible for making medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. Your advanced directive will describe life-sustaining measures, if any, that you wish to be taken when you are unable to voice your desires. Your healthcare proxy does not have authority over your advanced directive.

The power of attorney is similar to your healthcare proxy, except that he or she will make decisions regarding your assets and finances rather than making decisions regarding your medical care.

Get Help Planning Your Estate

If you are unsure of how to go about planning your estate, speak with a knowledgeable Delaware estate lawyer at Barros, McNamara, Malkiewicz & Taylor. You can set up a no-obligation consultation today by calling our office at 302-734-8400 or completing the contact form below. We’re ready to show you how to properly plan your estate.