In Delaware and elsewhere, virtually every adult confronts certain issues and challenges when they think about their legal estate and the possibility of becoming incapacitated at some point in their lives. Many same-sex couples experience additional challenges as they consider estate planning issues. Perhaps one of the primary, and potentially most important challenges is the legal status of their relationships.
Many Delaware residents are fortunate enough to find love a second time in their lives. Getting married for the second time often brings with it financial issues that need to be worked out between the parties. Some may forget that estate planning should also be looked at since each party may bring their own assets, debts and children to the marriage. How those assets are controlled and passed on after death depends on the parties.
After spending a lifetime caring and providing for family members, many Delaware residents make arrangements to provide for them after death as well. Unfortunately, those residents might forget that estate planning is about more than just dividing assets. It also includes making provisions in the event that they become unable to care for themselves at some point later in life.
Delaware residents may take steps to get their affairs in order and provide for their families after their deaths. When they do so, they may want to consider structuring their estate planning in a way that makes the job of their executor easier. Not only does this relieve some of the pressure on the executor, but it could also hasten the probate process by reducing or eliminating the potential for unnecessary delays.
Whether a Delaware resident is 18 or 80, making arrangements for death or incapacitation is crucial. It is not only older people or those with families who benefit from estate planning. No one knows what will happen in the future, and news headlines filled with young people who lost their lives or suffered critical injuries can attest to that fact.
Nearly every Delaware resident has some sort of online presence. Whether individuals simply have a Facebook account, save photos to the cloud or do their banking online, these accounts require attention during estate planning. Because the laws are still trying to catch up with the digital age, people need to take extra time and care to ensure that their digital assets are accounted for after death.
Delaware residents spend time and money putting together a plan that takes care of them if they become incapacitated, and their families upon death. Once they are pleased with their estate plans, they put them away for safekeeping until they are needed. This could be a mistake because they might miss one crucial part of estate planning -- the review.
When most Delaware residents think about a time in their lives when they will not be able to make decisions for themselves, they imagine being elderly. However, a debilitating illness or injury does not discriminate. Even young adults could end up needing a trusted family member or friend to make decisions on their behalf, even temporarily. That is why most estate planning includes the execution of durable powers of attorney.
Delaware law allows a number of ways to leave real estate to loved ones after death. When conducting estate planning, all of the options should be explored in order to ensure that the transfer is accomplished in the best way possible, according to family circumstances. One of those options could be the use of a life estate.
Probate is not the dirty word that many Delaware residents envision it to be. People are encouraged to engage in estate planning in order to avoid going through the probate process, but the fact is that nearly every estate goes through some form of probate. How an individual structures his or her estate plan determines the remainder of the process, including whether it is designed to avoid family conflicts.