The hit podcast “S-Town,” which was downloaded more than 10 million times in its first four days, highlighted the importance of having a will.
While that’s a good first step for anyone, estate planning is more than just wills. It is an entire strategy to protect you and your spouse in retirement and leave a legacy for your heirs.
It doesn’t have to be overly complicated, said Barry Kozak, an estate lawyer with October Three Consulting in Chicago.
When Kozak teaches elder law at the John Marshall Law School and the Loyola University Chicago, he tells his students that in estate planning, “there are many happy families out there, we are just not going to hear about them.”
Kozak offers five simple steps you can take to make life easier on your loved ones.
Have a pre-paid, pre-planned funeral
It sounds bleak, yet it can save your family thousands of dollars.
“Regardless of how wealthy any family happens to be, when the moment of death arrives, there is generally no one who can both properly grieve and properly make all of the arrangements,” Kozak said.
Before Kozak’s mother died, she had pre-purchased a coffin and the funeral service she wanted and arranged for the coffin to be flown back a burial site in New York along with the wording on her tombstone.
You can save by shopping around and going local. A recent report from the Consumer Federation of America and the Funeral Consumers Alliance found that median prices at chain funeral homes were significantly higher than independently owned ones.
Set up a family committee to manage your revocable trust
Unlike a will, a revocable trust covers you while you are still alive.
When a revocable trust is established, Kozak recommends a “disability committee” of family members named in the trust document to determine when the donor no longer has the required level of mental capacity.
“The committee helps you avoid going to court and dealing with an adult guardianship hearing,” Kozak said.
You can read the other half of this great article on CNBC here: http://cnb.cx/2oN7NWz