When people think about estate planning, they consider their bank accounts and homes. And depending on the value of the home and bank accounts, some people do not even give those much thoughts. But did you know that there is so much more to estate planning? Any other personal property you own like cars, books, and clothing will also be part of your estate someday. If you do not plan ahead, your family will find themselves in an awkward waiting game, because they can’t just sell everything when you die. Instead, they must wait for the courts to oversee what should be done with everything you own. Probate can be costly and time-consuming, which is why we always say that estate planning is necessary for everyone. This is why you must have a will created that states who gets which items and how much money goes to each individual. Because if you don’t make those decisions, the courts will following New Hampshire’s intestacy laws. Intestacy laws govern the distributions of the estates of a person who dies without a will, or “intestate.”
Most people make the mistake of assuming everything goes to a surviving spouse or children when a person dies. In New Hampshire, intestacy laws do result in some portions of the estate going to a surviving spouse. But that same law also provides shares to any children, parents, and even siblings. If minors are involved, the distribution can be even trickier. And then you have the scenarios where there are no living relatives. When that happens, your entire estate will be given to the state of New Hampshire.
As you are creating your will for your estate planning, you can bequeath assets to anyone. In fact, you can direct your items to family members, friends, and even your favorite charities. A will governs the distribution of your property, but having just a will not keep your estate from going through probate. While trust is an instrument used to divide your property without having your estate go through probate. A trust can be used when minor children are involved. You can even create trust for your pets in the state of New Hampshire.
When you are estate planning, you must be aware that it is more than creating wills and trusts though. During this time, you will also have the opportunity to create advanced directives like a financial and health care power of attorney. Your power of attorney can then take care of everything if you become unable to do so. It is best to make sure your power of attorney knows your wishes, or you write your wishes down for them to follow. This way you can avoid uncomfortable situations and even arguments amongst family members and friends.
If you haven’t started estate planning, today is an excellent time to begin. I would love to help you with the process, or at least help answer a few questions. Feel free to contact me today so we can have a conversation about what is best for you.