When you first start estate planning, determining how to best distribute your assets among your loved ones will take up a lot of your time. Here are some things to consider as you make decisions about who will ultimately own your belongings and financial assets.
Have More than One Beneficiary
If you're like many people, you may be thinking of designating your oldest child as your beneficiary, assuming that they will act responsibly toward their siblings after you pass on. However, that can be extremely stressful for your oldest child, as others may make demands about what they want. Not only that, but your other kids will feel slighted.
Instead, think about having all of your children listed as beneficiaries. That way, all your children will feel that they are respected, and that can cut down on the bickering and arguments that take place after you pass away.
Share Your Choices
While the plans you make for your estate are personal, you might wish to explain to your loved ones why you have made the decisions you have about your estate. A good idea is to gather your family and loved ones together, so you can tell them about your choices. That way, they have the opportunity to ask you questions and voice any objections. Because most of your loved ones will be present, no one will be able to claim that they didn't know what your plans were.
If there are some loved ones who are unable to attend the meeting, be sure to see them on a separate occasion to give them the chance to talk with you about your plans.
Avoid Financial Hurdles
When dividing your financial assets, you might consider putting money aside for certain people. However, if you aren't sure whether this person will be responsible with the money, you may think about putting certain requirements in place before allowing access to the inheritance. For example, you might want to be sure your niece has a degree before she can access the money you've set aside for her.
However, requirements may prevent your loved ones from ever getting their money. For instance, what if your niece never gets her degree because she's offered a lucrative position in a major company? What if she chooses to start a family instead? Avoid financial hurdles regarding the money you plan to give to your loved ones, so that they don't feel trapped by your plan for their lives.
Now that you know some of the things to keep in mind as you start to plan for asset distribution, talk with your estate attorney. They can provide even more ideas about how to make this process go smoothly. For more information on estate planning, contact a professional like Albert & Slater PS.