Nobody wants to think about his or her mortality with many even avoiding the subject of death and its consequences, such as the division of assets. But this should not be as death is unpreventable but easing its consequences on those left behind is possible and it starts with effective risk and estate planning.
Indeed, risk and estate planning is not just about increasing the possibility that the wishes of the terminally ill patient are followed by the executors but that the beneficiaries of the estate also benefit in many ways. These include saving them the aggravation of dealing with the law in case of intestate death, avoiding the substantial expenses involved in it, and granting them the chance to focus on their loss.
The bottom line: Risk and estate planning can lessen the burden for both the terminally ill patient and his family.
#1 Look at the Will
As early as possible, the terminally ill patient should discuss the contents of his will with his solicitors and accountants, among others. The testator is actually protecting his beneficiaries from unscrupulous persons who will unrightfully want a share of his estate. The will should also state the testator’s wishes for his death, if desired, as well as guardianship over his minor children or wards.
#2 Perform an Inventory
The testator may or may not be fully aware of the extent of his net worth, thus, understating or overstating it in the will. The second step then in effective risk and estate planning is to perform an inventory of the testator’s assets, which usually include cash in bank, real and personal property, marketable investments, insurance policies, retirement savings, business interests, and even collectible items, among others. Just declare as assets the items that the testator will want to pass on to his beneficiaries.
And then comes the more difficult part of risk and estate planning that, when handled properly, can result in all the beneficiaries being satisfied with the will. These questions must be answered with their answers reflected in the will:
- Who will inherit the assets (i.e., division of the assets)?
- Who will be the executor of the will?
- Who will handle the finances and healthcare decisions in case of the testator’s incapacity?
Usually, risk and estate planning is capped by assigning the power of attorney and filing the will but each case is different so a professional must be called in for the job.