Estate planning requires proactive steps.
Perhaps you have never made an estate plan.
Maybe you recently moved to another state, making the legality of your previous plan uncertain.
Whatever the reason, you are searching for an estate planning attorney to begin the process.
According to a recent EconoTimes article titled “Top 3 Estate Planning Tips When Seeing An Attorney,” people need to be proactive in their estate planning.
What does it mean to be proactive?
It means doing your due diligence and taking steps to become more organized.
What is the first step?
Find an experienced attorney.
When you create an estate plan, there is no room for error.
Estate planning mistakes are often discovered only after the death of an individual.
At this point, it is too late to fix them.
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney is essential.
Someone who is a general practitioner or focuses on another area of law may not know the nuanced state and federal laws, let alone how they impact your estate.
When evaluating various estate planning attorneys, be sure to check out their professional standing among peers and their client ratings and reputations.
This information is readily available online with the click of a mouse.
As they say, “it is hard to hide on the internet!”
Inventory your assets.
Another way to be proactive is to make a list of everything you own.
You should include tangible assets like homes, real estate, automobiles, watercraft, aircraft, collectibles, and other personal possessions.
What are intangible assets?
These include bank accounts, bonds, stocks, mutual funds, retirement plans, business entities (e.g., corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships), and health savings accounts.
Create your estate planing documents.
You will not be creating your last will and testament by yourself.
Your estate planning attorney will do this in close collaboration with you.
Before meeting with your attorney, you will likely be given questionnaires to complete and provide in advance.
You also may be given a list of documents to bring to your appointment.
These are designed to guide you through the process of evaluating your goals and what you have to protect.
After your meeting with your estate planning attorney, the attorney will draft the documents necessary to meet your objectives.
Certain assets or accounts, like life insurance or retirement plans, pass through beneficiary designations.
Your estate planning attorney will provide direction how these should be arranged in light of your overall planning.
The planning you do today will be a blessing to your loved ones later.
Reference: EconoTimes (July 30, 2020) “Top 3 Estate Planning Tips When Seeing An Attorney”