Nearly everyone has some sort of asset they would like to pass on once they pass away. But if you don’t properly plan your estate, your assets may not pass to who you would prefer, or could even end up requiring thousands of dollars and months of time to sort out. Luckily, if you take the time to properly plan your estate, you can avoid these traps and set your heirs up just as you intended. But what do you need to properly plan your estate?
1. An up to date will or trust
Wills are easier to create than trusts, but require your assets to pass through probate to be able to be distributed as intended. Trusts, on the other hand, may require professional assistance, as well as may require a trustee surety bond for the trust’s trustee, but they may avoid a guardianship or conservatorship if set up correctly and can function during the grantor’s life. Trusts also avoid having to pass through probate.
2. Durable power of attorney
This provides up to date information on who should tend to your affairs should you become incapacitated. Once you pass on, however, the power of attorney goes with you; these forms are only good for the time you’re alive.
3. Updated beneficiary designation forms
Beneficiary forms for life insurance policies, 401(k)s, and other assets generally override your will, so updating these forms is necessary to make sure that your assets pass on to who you intend.
4. What do you need if you are required to administer another’s estate?
The first thing you’re going to need is an estate surety bond. These types of bonds (also known as executor bonds, probate bonds, administrator bonds, personal representative bonds, and fiduciary bonds) are required by the court to protect the interests of the estate’s intended beneficiaries in accordance with state law. Bonding requirements can vary according to the state or county in which the deceased lived at the time of death.
Colonial Surety offers the direct and digital way to obtain estate surety bonds, also known as probate bonds, personal representative bonds, executor bonds, and administrator bonds. We are the insurance company — which means no agent, no broker, and no middleman. We make it easy to obtain your bond instantly. The steps are easy — get a quote online, fill out your information, satisfy underwriting requirements, and enter your payment method. Print or e-file your bond from your office. It’s that simple! Learn more about planning an estate.