Close to half of respondents earning $80,000 a year or more have a will, an increase of 7% since 2020, according to Caring.com.
The first step in getting your affairs in order is to gather up all your important personal, financial and legal information, so you can arrange it in a format that will benefit you now and your loved ones later.
It’s an important task that is easy to procrastinate. However, here is why you shouldn’t:
If you die without a will, you die “intestate” and your assets will be distributed according to your state’s law. That could result in a distribution you didn’t intend.
If you have a parent over the age of, say, 65, thoughts about their future may have started to creep into your mind. But because end-of-life planning can be emotional and overwhelming, it’s tempting to put these conversations off — and even more pleasing to avoid them altogether. If there’s a lesson to be learned from the pandemic, however, it’s that waiting until the last minute to prepare is seldom a good idea.
If a loved one asks you to be the executor of their estate, think carefully before you take on this responsibility. While you have the option of declining the request, the person reaching out likely considers you to be responsible and detail oriented. An executor of an estate typically helps file paperwork, close accounts and distribute the assets of the deceased.
Your estate planning is done, but is it? A periodic review is an important ongoing step to your planning.
My mother passed, and she was an administrator of my grandfather’s estate and the inheritances. The estate accumulated quite a bit of back taxes over the years. Will the IRS put a lien on that estate as well as hers to retrieve funds?
Executors can use additional information in administering estates, especially if the executor is unrelated to the decedent.
Whether you drew up a will recently or years ago, keep in mind it’s generally not something you can set and forget.