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Estate Plans: Know Where Your Property is Going before You’re Gone

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Tim Pierce
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Flikr

Planning ahead for death is usually not something people want to think about. However, having your affairs in order before you go into the great beyond is an action for consideration.

Setting up an estate plan, a transfer of your personal wealth and assets after death, helps to organize and streamline decisions so that the family left grieving won’t have to wander through red tape to acquire lingering possessions. Janet LaFon, MU Extension family financial education specialist for Jasper County, outlines the need for such a plan.     

“Death isn’t an easy topic to talk about, but it’s something that we’ve got to realize is going to happen, so if we don’t make some plans of what’s going to happen to our property, then it’s going to be up basically to the state to decide.”

Creating an estate plan requires information about your property and personal finances. Bank accounts, insurance policies, and a list of property are all needed when gathering data to include in the plan. After this is collected, it’s important to decide where the assets will go; whether it’s to immediate family or to a favorite charity.

“The next step would probably be to visit with an attorney to try to decide what is the best vehicle for you whether it it’s a will, whether it’s a trust.”

Estate plans can also offer some peace of mind for parents of minors, says LaFon.

“In terms of things like guardianship for minor children does require a will, so it’s important to visit with an attorney once you get that information gathered up.”

Setting up an estate plan can be done at any age to ensure your property is allocated to the desired parties after your passing. Even at a young age, LaFon comments, it’s something that people should think about doing.

For more information, call Janet LaFon at (417) 358-2158 or email her at lafonj@missouri.edu.