Being involved in a dispute over an estate that was left with no planning is not something that anyone wants to be a part of. It can mean hard feelings and raw emotions for everyone who is present. Figuring out now how to pass your property and assets on to your heirs, be they children, relatives or even a non-profit, is the wisest path that you can take. There are so many options available and some of the laws have changed as well.

Designating your beneficiaries on your life insurance policy and on your retirement plan is one way that you can avoid sending your property through probate. The estate’s trustee and the court will oversee the distribution of your assets and your entire estate if your intent is not clear.

Houses and vehicles are often jointly owned, so that is fairly simple. However, if you have one name on any property or asset and you don’t have an estate plan or a will, the outcome may not be clear or to your liking. One of the ways to ensure that your wishes are taken into consideration after you are gone is to name a trustee that is someone you respect and can trust. This means that you convey your assets to someone that is trustworthy and they will have complete control over your property until they pass away.

Taxes are also to be considered and the income flow that will govern the tax rate you pay. Many accounts are protected against taxation. This is a subject that you need to talk to your attorney about. He or she will know what the best avenue will be for you and your circumstances.

Source: WFMY News, “Be aware of new laws in estate planning process,” Sep. 16, 2015