If you're the head of a family and have been the one who does the most to support it, your death will be a serious and upsetting loss. That's why you need to do your best to prepare your family for life after you're gone; taking steps to help them steer clear of legal issues that could land them in probate court is just one of the things you can do to protect them. Use these tips for an idea of what you should be doing now to help them later.
One of the biggest errors that people make is to wait too long before starting any kind of financial planning or seeking probate guidance. You never know when your death will occur; it could happen years from now or next week. It may be uncomfortable for you to start thinking about your demise, but it may help to know that you are doing it for the benefit of your family and understanding that your actions today will be vital to their well-being in the future. Talk to a qualified probate lawyer at a law firm like Wilson Deege Despotovich Riemenschneider & Rittgers and start working on these issues right away.
Add Others to Your Documents Now
A way to steer clear of probate problems is to ensure that those you want to give things to are already part owners. For example, if you want your home to go to your sister after you pass away, putting her name on the deed today is a smart move. If you want your retirement account to go to your daughter, take time to arrange a "pay on death" benefit system where her name is documented; it will go to her immediately upon proof that you're gone. Doing these things now will eliminate questions about where you want everything to go, so probate court may be unnecessary.
Chat with Family
While you may not want to alarm them by talking about your death or start arguments about the decisions you're making, it can be important for everyone involved to speak regularly about your plans. If your son understands why you're leaving the business to your brother, for instance, he may be less likely to move forward with legal claims in probate court. Knowing your plans and hearing them directly from you can also help everyone to be on the same page so any legal issues that arise can be prepared for.
These are just some actions you'll be able to take in the days to come. Keep working with a probate attorney to ensure that everything will be ready for your family when you finally pass away.