Estate Planning Extends Beyond Creating A Will

New customers of estate planning services firms often focus on the creation of their wills. Although a will is an important document, an estate planning attorney will tell you to look beyond it. You need to address other documents if you want to see your legacy go to the people you care about. Estate grantors should consider these four potential solutions.

1. Deeds

The title to a person's primary residence is often the most valuable asset they have. If you leave all the answers to the questions involving your house in the will, your spouse or children may have to wait to have access to it. They may have to wait until the court accepts your executor or appoints an administrator, depending on the circumstances. That could take months.

You have the right to make your home's title transferable on death. Likewise, you can do the same for virtually all forms of real estate you own. This can significantly expedite the transfer process so make sure a transfer is assigned to the deed.

2. Trusts

Another way to move assets to beneficiaries faster is to establish trusts. A trust can even come into effect before you die, providing for people while you're still around to see them benefit from it. Even if you wish to retain assets until you pass, you can create a trust now or upon departing. The assets will move into the trust at that moment, producing a notable reduction in legal headaches.

3. Joint Tenancies

Especially if you have a small business with a spouse, family member, or close friend, you may want to set up a joint tenancy. This is a structure that moves all the rights to the property to the survivors.

Suppose you have a rental property business and you want it to go to your spouse if you pass. You can name them in the joint tenancy, assuring the business goes to them at that time. This approach can also be helpful if a business partner is a close friend or family member but not a spouse. Rather than forcing them into a complex legal process, you can allow your interests to convert to their ownership if you pass.

4. Accounts

Many kinds of financial accounts are transferable like deeds. The instrument for transferring an account is payable on death benefit. You must name the beneficiary. When you pass, the beneficiary only has to provide a death certificate to take control of the account. This is excellent for checking, savings, brokerage, and retirement accounts.

For more information about the process, contact estate planning attorneys.