Estate Planning: Wills, Trusts, Guardians, Insurance, and Taxes
If you'd like to rest assured that your loved ones will be cared for and not left with a financial or legal mess when you're gone, now is the time to get the necessary paperwork in order. There are a number of Web sites that can show you how to do it.
When we die, we leave behind the material possessions and financial assets (or debts) we've spent ... read more »
Someone is going to get your worldly belongings after your death; who that is will be up to you, or the courts. These sites have advice on how to leave your estate to your beneficiaries by using wills and trusts, and also how to ensure that your young children have been assigned a proper guardian.
- If you have a 401(k), a pension, or an IRA, you've probably already appointed someone as a beneficiary of those funds.
For sites with resources for both wills and trusts …
The Motley Fool
has an article, "Will or Trust?" that may help you determine which of these two methods is best for transferring your assets.
has a "Make a Trust" checklist and a "Make a Will
" checklist to help you plan to leave your estate to family and friends.
doesn't win any points for its design, but does provide some examples of completed short-form and long-form wills along with a codicil (or amendment) to your will. You can pay to see examples of more complex documents if you need them. Just looking for an overview? There is also a section titled "Last will and testament basics
" that will give you a starting point process.
For trusts …
has a comprehensive trust section that provides a basic introduction, a discussion of who needs to set up trusts, advice for selecting a trustee, and much more. Use the links midway down the page to access the different articles.
To choose a legal guardian for your dependents …
has a short and informative article describing the duties of a legal guardian and the process of appointing a legal guardian.
provides a list of 10 things to think about when choosing a guardian for your child. Also on this site you'll find explanations of the basics of guardianship like the difference between temporary and testamentary guardianship, how to establish a guardianship, and some examples of guardianship law in certain states.
has an article about how to choose a legal guardian for your child that brushes upon the following issues: if you and your spouse can’t agree on a legal guardian; if you don’t want the child’s other parent to raise him or her should you die; and what to do if you have a same-sex spouse whom you’d like to raise your child if you pass away. Make sure to scroll to the bottom of the first page so that you can click through to every page of this article.
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