Where there's not a will, there's a way.
Yes, estate planning is complex, and for many can be overwhelming. It can also be psychologically daunting. But there are tools available to demystify the process. In other words: Yes, there is an app for that.
One such app, available from Apple, is Compartments, which is advertised as a “fast, easy-to-use home inventory application” that can help to avoid documentation disputes regarding property. In the event of someone’s passing, everything owned must be inventoried and valued by the executor of your estate. With Compartments, users can input information about their possessions, warranty information and generate insurance reports which estimate an item’s current value. The data can be organized by room and be synced to multiple computers.
Perhaps the most important thing an individual can do is to make sure their will is in order. Without a will, it is unlikely that your intentions in dividing your estate, providing for loved ones or caring for minor children will be carried out. It is also beneficial from a tax standpoint.
Where there is not a will, there is computer software, such as Quicken Willmaker Plus and Suze Orman’s Will & Trust Kit to help you prepare one. LegalZoom.com is an online resource for creating personal legal documents such as a living will or health care power of attorney.
The advantages are time saved and cost the cost of a professional estate planner, but self-directed estate planning is probably most advantageous to those with uncomplicated estates. Even in these cases, a professional estate planner, up to date on the newest tax laws and estate planning trends, will probably be able to allow investors to avoid common mistakes, such as not properly identifying a secondary beneficiary on retirement accounts.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.