Do you have a plan for what will happen to your assets when you pass away? What about who will be able to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so? These are just a few of the questions you’ll need to answer when you put together your estate plan and the support of the right estate planning lawyer can go a long way towards helping you.
For many people, estate planning feels overwhelming. Thankfully, there are a few stages to getting through this phase successfully that can make you feel more accomplished at the end.
Step 1: Look at Everything You Own and Record It
You can’t really know what your estate looks like until you inventory it. This makes the future planning steps much easier since you can decide what kind of strategies are best suited to your needs.
Step 2: Consult an Attorney
A lawyer can help you figure out what support you need in the form of documents and tools like trusts, and having your inventory already pulled together will make that process easier.
Step 3: Create a Will
Often the cornerstone of an estate plan, your will can name a guardian for a minor child and a basic distribution plan for assets.
Step 4: Check Beneficiary Forms
From your life insurance policy to your retirement accounts, there are some items that pass outside of will designations. Verify your forms filed with these companies are up to date.
Step 5: Evaluate Life Insurance Policies
Do you have enough coverage? A plan for protecting your family and loved ones while probate is pending? This is a good time to chat with your life agent.
Step 6: Form a Trust
You might benefit from one of the most powerful and popular estate planning tools in the form of a trust. Discuss which kind of estate planning trust is right for you.
Step 7: Consider Healthcare Options
Discuss considerations like qualifying for Medicaid and a healthcare power of attorney to ensure you have plans in place if you were to become ill and need additional support.
In your first estate planning meeting, your attorney can help you decide what aligns with your individual needs.