The list of celebrities who died without a will is long and surprising. Celebrity activists like Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln and Bob Marley—who appeared to be put together and responsible—died without a will.
This left their family vulnerable and fighting for their rightful inheritance. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s kids are fighting over the right to keep or sell his personal traveling Bible to this day.
Your personal belongings, savings, any property that you own and anything else that you have under your name, need to be inherited by someone. More precisely, everything needs to go to your beneficiaries in the event of your death. You can draft a will, but the legal process of it is known as estate planning.
Estate planning is a procedure that ensures al your assets are transferred to your heirs legally and seamlessly once you’re gone. A comprehensive estate plan also assigns the power of attorney to your family members and/or loved ones to control your assets if you’re unable to do so at any point in your life.
Here are some important documents that you need in place for estate planning:
Trusts and Wills
Regardless of the amount of assets that you own—no matter how small—you need trusts and wills to be set in place so that after your death, the procedures can be taken care of without any issue. A will or trust is one of the main aspects of any estate plan. A trust ensures that all the legal challenges and estate taxes will be kept at a minimum. A will, on the other hand, makes sure that your property is distributed among your family, friends and loved ones according to your own wishes and in compliance with the state laws.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a person or a legal agent who can act and make decisions on your behalf when you’re no longer around or able to do so. In the absence of a designated power of attorney, your assets and belongings will fall under the jurisdiction of the court. The judge may decide that you may not want or it could be a decision that gives your family a hard time.
A power of attorney will be able to transfer real estate, make financial transactions and take legal decisions on your behalf.
Letter of Intent
This is a simple document left behind and addressed to your beneficiary or executor. The aim is to define at length which asset will go to which family member in the event of your death. Letters of intent also often list down funeral details, cremation requests and anything else that you want your loved ones to do after you pass away.
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