A couple getting a head start on their will and trust planning

Simple and Effective Estate Planning Methods

You may believe that it is unnecessary to do any estate or trust planning unless there are a great deal of assets that your family will be left to deal with after your death. In truth, it is very important that you have these things legally planned out, regardless of how little you may leave behind. You want your assets to go to your loved ones, and there are two simple, but important, steps you can take to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Write Out Your Will

It is important to create a will. This document serves to make your last wishes known, so sit down and write out what you want each person to have. Don't forget to designate who you want to be responsible for making sure your wishes are carried out properly. You may want to leave your home to a specific family member, or you may want it sold with the proceeds going to various children, grandchildren, or even charities that are close to your heart.

One thing to remember? It's important that you be as specific as possible. You need to include everything you own in this document. Be sure to include any other real estate, vehicles, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, bank accounts, cash on hand, personal items and even pets. Those with young children may also use a will to name a legal guardian for those children.

Set Up a Trust

This type of legal financial arrangement often works to transfer your assets much more easily and quickly to your loved ones than if you used only a will. Choosing to set up a trust can give you much more control over you assets and provide several helpful benefits. Depending on the type of trust you choose, you may be able to save your loved ones from paying a huge amount of estate taxes, keep the process out of court as a private matter rather than public record, protect your assets from going into the hands of your loved one's creditors or even arrange monthly payments to a loved one over a certain amount of years. These are just a very few of the many benefits that a trust may provide, and you will be able to carefully personalize a trust to fit your specific needs and wants.

No matter which estate planning technique you choose, it is important to have your estate in order before you pass. Too many people pass away without making their wishes known, and this often leads to much of your assets being eaten up by attorney fees as relatives claim parts and pieces of your estate in court. Nobody wants this to happen, and you shouldn't hesitate to contact an estate planning attorney to assist you in making these final arrangements in the proper manner. Take care of this today, and you can rest easy knowing everything will be taken care of in exactly the way you want after you have passed on.