Think about all that can be accomplished in establishing an estate plan. First, you can put advanced health care directives in place that protect your wishes despite what life may throw your way. Second, you can preserve your wealth and avoid unnecessary taxation. Third, you can help ensure that your assets are effectively and efficiently to your heirs. Generally speaking, estate planning allows you to protect and promote a future you want for your loved ones and yourself. While estate planning can be a complex journey, it is worth the effort. Set yourself up for success by preparing as much as you can before you proceed on your estate planning path.
Getting Ready to Estate Plan
There are a number things you can do before you even walk into your attorney’s office for your initial estate planning appointment. For starters, you can start gathering documents that will play an essential role in estate planning. Documents that you will likely need to gather include:
- Bank account statements
- Financial account statements
- Stock certificates
- Life insurance policy information
- Intellectual property registration certificates
- Business agreements
- Real estate deeds
If you have previously established any estate planning documents, including but not limited to things like powers of attorneys, health care directives, wills, and trusts, you should gather these as well. If you are seeking to amend any such previously established legal documents, your attorney will need them in order to follow the proper protocol for amending them.
If you have a prenuptial agreement in place, you should also bring this for your attorney to review. It is common for prenuptial agreements to have provisions with direct implications for estate planning purposes. For instance, there may be a specific bequest dictated under the terms of a prenuptial agreement. Such provisions must be honored in the estate planning documents as well.
As you prepare to estate plan, you should also be reflecting on how you want your assets to be distributed to your heirs. You should consider who you want to inherit what asset. Every heir is likely to have unique needs and circumstances that you will also want to relay to your estate planning attorney. For instance, if you have a loved one with special needs that you want to leave an inheritance to provide for them after you are gone, then you may want to consider setting up a special needs trust so that your bequest to them does not jeopardize the continued receipt of any need-based government benefits they may be receiving.
You will also want to think about who you want to serve in roles of responsibility under your estate plan. This can include roles such as trustee of a trust, personal representative of your estate, and agent under a power of attorney. All of these roles represent jobs of great responsibility that will necessitate a person who is trustworthy, among other qualities.
Estate Planning Attorney
Do you have estate planning questions? At BoyesLegal, APC, we have answers. Contact us today.