A death in the family has the potential to bring out the worst in some people, so planning ahead can save you and your family considerable stress in the long run when it comes to your estate.
First, rather than automatically relying on your eldest child to assume the responsibility of executor of your estate, you should choose someone honest, organized, hardworking, and a good communicator.
Making the bulk of the decisions regarding who will be inheriting what while you are alive (and explaining why you are making such a decision) can also save your family from antipathy later on. At the same time, bear in mind that you are under no obligation to appease every single person, these are your decisions to make.
It would be a good idea if you consult with an attorney for your estate planning needs to choose one with no existing personal or professional relationship with anyone in your family. In this way you ensure the advice you receive will be as unbiased as possible. Keep all communication between yourself and your attorney private as well.
Make sure your will or trust, along with beneficiary designations are up to date. You should be checking on your estate plan every few years or whenever a major life change takes place such as a divorce, marriage, new child, or death of a beneficiary occurs. Doing so will curtail any criticism that you did not take an active part in your estate planning.
Lastly, keep in mind that anyone you have made a co-owner of, such as a checking account, can make that person co-owner if the original account holder passes away.
For other concerns, speak with our Nassau County elder law attorneys today!