You probably already know you need to do some sort of estate planning, but taking that first step can be tough. The good news is that the first step is usually the hardest. Think of preparing your estate plan as a gift for your loved ones, because preparing well-thought out and professionally drafted estate planning documents can make a difficult period easier when it’s time to put your plan in motion.
Here are the things you should consider as you get started with the process:
For many people, goals include things like avoiding probate and making the estate settlement process easier on loved ones. Goals may also include minimizing taxes, leaving a charitable legacy, providing for loved ones with special needs, and more.
What if one of the people you’ve named passes before you? What happens to their share?
If not, consider how you might want to structure distributions for them. Even if they are capable of managing an inheritance, it is important to consider that they may have a future creditor, such as medical bills, lawsuit settlements from a car accident, or a future divorcing spouse. These are all types of creditors that you do not want to leave your beneficiary vulnerable to. The good news is there are ways to protect an inheritance from these types of situations.
This person will be responsible for handling all of the administrative tasks that come with someone’s death. What if that person was unable to act? Do you have an alternative choice?
If you were to become incapacitated and could no longer handle your financial affairs, does someone else have the authority to handle things on your behalf? If not, do you have someone you trust to act for you if you cannot?
If you were incapacitated and could not speak for yourself to make your wishes for your own medical care known, who would you want to be your voice? Do they know what your wishes would be? Have you talked to this person about your wishes and have you memorialized your medical choices in writing?
The hardest step is just starting the process and addressing these types of questions. Most people find that once they’ve begun the process, it is surprisingly easier than imagined. You do not need to have all of the answers to these questions before you start the process, but it helps to give them some thought ahead of time.
Our team of experts has the experience and ability to tailor a comprehensive estate plan for you. After a thorough review of your assets we will present you with various estate planning techniques that will suit your needs no matter what type of estate you have. Contact us today to learn more or get started!