4 Tips for Getting Started on Your Estate plan
If you hold an account jointly with another individual, when one of you passes away,
Hi. My name is James Baron. I am a special education law and special needs estate planning attorney located in Waltham, Massachusetts. Today for About.com I am going to discuss 4 tips for getting started on your estate plan.First, be aware that laws vary from state to state. Do not just download a generic form from the internet and assume that it will be appropriate and valid in your state. Ideally, you should work with an attorney in the state where you live.Second, understand that an estate plan is more than just a will. A will only deals with what happens to your property after your death. There is a lot that can happen to you and your property between now and the time you pass away. For that reason, a good estate plan consists of at least the following documents:Third, make sure that you can identify people you trust to carry out your wishes. For example, you want to make sure that the person you name as the personal representative in your will will be able and willing to carry out the directives of your will, and will be able to interface with the probate court. You also want to make sure that the person you name in your Durable Power of Attorney is someone who you trust, since you will be granting them the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf.Finally, think about whether you can avoid probate by utilizing joint accounts for your bank and investment accounts. If you hold an account jointly with someone else, when one of you passes away, the other person will take full ownership that account, thereby avoiding the need for probate. On the other hand, this tool only works for that purpose if the joint account holder is the person you want to own the account after your death.Thanks for watching. To learn more about this topic, please visit About.com.