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Establishing an estate plan now is the smartest way to prepare for your loved ones’ futures after your passing. However, as you prepare to make your estate plan, it is critical to consider what needs to be done before you can properly begin.
Meeting with your estate planning attorney is the most important step you can take toward creating a healthy estate plan. The following are some helpful tips on what you can do to prepare for meeting with your lawyer to draft your estate plan together.
Begin by allowing yourself the time to take stock of all your assets, including:
By documenting and getting clarity on what you have and what you plan to leave behind, you’ll be better equipped to decide with your attorney on the necessary actions to take, both in the execution and maintenance of your estate plan.
An estate plan is, in essence, a strategy. You want to maximize what you can pass on, so you will want to make as many decisions for your family ahead of time to eliminate the burden placed on them later. The most effective way to achieve this is to decide at the outset what those specific goals will be for your particular estate. Your goals may be to:
Creating a list of desired beneficiaries can help you ensure that no one is missed when delineating who will receive portions of your estate. It can also help you keep track of any other considerations and preparations you need to make for assets that require further planning. For instance, life insurance policies and retirement accounts have their own specific forms that are required and can only be designated to certain people. By considering your beneficiaries ahead of time, you will be prepared to discuss these special circumstances with your attorney.
Not all determinations you will be making in your estate plan relate to financial assets. Take this time to consider what else you will want your estate plan to accomplish. Here, you can designate a power of attorney, establish guardianship for minor children, and consider what, if any, healthcare directives you want to have in place should you be unable to answer on your own behalf.
If you have not already done so, finding and hiring an estate planning attorney is an essential and crucial step in establishing a healthy estate plan. Your attorney can:
Lastly, after the preparation stage, they can help you with the actual process of creating a legally sound estate plan.
After you have prepared for your meeting with your estate planning attorney, and have chosen an attorney with whom to work, you are ready to actually begin creating the necessary documents. Your attorney can assist by actually ensuring that all documentation is completed thoroughly and effectively.
Lastly, after your attorney and you have completed an estate plan, they can check in with you regularly to update your estate plan as needed. Your assets and your loved ones are not stationary considerations. As you experience major life events, such as the birth of a child or the death of a spouse, you will need to keep your estate plan updated to ensure that it continues to align with your goals.
A: You should not miss these 7 crucial steps to prepare for creating and establishing a healthy estate plan:
A: Most commonly, estate planning will tend to include the preparation of a last will and testament. When most imagine the estate planning process, this is the document they are considering. A will has the legal capacity to outline several key elements of your wishes to be carried out. This includes:
A: When estate planning, the following five components are the most common inclusions to consider:
A: While a healthy estate plan should include several components, there are two documents you should have at a minimum:
A will is a crucial document that allows you to set terms as to who will
A power of attorney designates decision-making power on your behalf.
Preparation today is the key to tomorrow’s peace. Estate planning is meant to provide you and your loved ones with security, but neither should the estate planning process itself be stressful. Contact Ken R. Ashworth & Associates for help with planning your estate.