Some parts of estate planning sound simple. You know that writing a will means listing your assets and assigning them to certain heirs, for instance. You may choose to do it on your own or to ask your heirs what they want or prefer. Either way, it seems straightforward. You own assets and you need to give them to someone else when you pass away.
The problem is that that type of estate planning is very basic. It can actually get a lot more complicated than that when you start to get into it.
For instance, maybe you have a life insurance policy. Did you know that writing out who gets that money in your will does not matter? It’s true. Your policy itself asks you to name a beneficiary. If the person named in the will is different than the one listed on the policy, the company is going to go with their own documentation.
Or, did you know that you can create specific trusts for an heir with special needs? If you leave them assets in your will, they may appear to have so much personal wealth that they can’t qualify for the types of assistance they need from the government. Putting the money into a trust and keeping it out of their estate means they still qualify, but you do get to help them at the same time. It’s critical to know how to set this up properly.
Do not assume that estate planning is always easy. If it gets complicated and you know how important it is to avoid mistakes, it may help to work with an experienced legal team.