Estate Planning Is About More Than Who Gets What

When thinking about the estate planning process, it's easy to assume that it's mostly about naming beneficiaries and seeing that they get what was assigned to them. Taking that view, though, can leave people you love in a difficult position and make it harder for them to preserve your legacy. Here are some of the other issues you need to keep an eye on.

The Tax Bill Always Comes Due

Fully funding payment of the taxes that are likely to arise from an inheritance is important. When giving money or items to family members and friends, this will ensure that they won't have to sell what they've received in order to settle up with the government.

If you're donating to  charity, it may be beneficial to use donations to offset some of the tax liabilities of your estate, too. This can be a tricky process, but a valuation can be obtained and other issues can be ironed out by an estate attorney.

Also, remember that the old adage about death and tax really applies when it comes to estate planning efforts. Before anything is distributed from your estate, make sure your own outstanding tax bills are paid in full. The administrator of your estate can ensure that your sudden demise doesn't upset the apple cart.

Potential Incapacitation

Falling into the trap that an estate only needs to address concerns about your passing can lead to a lot of trouble. There are also scenarios where even temporary incapacitation can give rise to headaches. If you're on the board of a company or an organization, for example, it's a good idea to have a process in place to transfer your voting rights to someone trusted for the duration of any incapacitation.

Managing finances during your incapacitation can also be a mess. Families often disagree about how to deal with money on behalf of a loved one. Instead of putting your family in such a position, you can have your estate outline exactly who will have access to money, how they can utilize it and under what conditions can it be transferred.

Assignment of Responsibilities

Every estate needs to have an executor to administer it. It can be tempting to assign the job to your estate planning attorney, but many lawyers prefer to keep their role as counsel separate from administrative needs. For more information, contact an estate planning attorney such as Skeen Law Offices.