There are a large number of estate planning tools your estate planning lawyer is experienced with, and understands that you are not. Because there are so many options to explore and tools to put into place, it will be necessary to meet with your estate planning lawyer regularly until everything is complete. Even then, meetings will follow regularly in order to keep all the documents up to date. Often times, people believe they only have to worry about their estate plan during the planning process. This is a mistake considering how often life circumstances change.
Because each estate plan is different, your attorney will help create one that is specific to your needs, as well as your family’s needs. Some of these needs may include working on establishing guardianship if you are the parent of a minor child, who will handle all of your affairs if your health deteriorates to the point of incapacitation, and how to handle funeral arrangements to include funeral expenses. It is important to plan for every eventuality leading to and following your passing in order to aid your beneficiaries as best as you possibly can.
Some questions that might come up along the way are the following:
- Should I have healthcare directives? How does this differ from a living will?
- What are some ways my estate can avoid probate?
- If my estate goes to probate court, what will it cost my estate?
- What kind of financial planning and asset protection should I put into place?
- Is there specific things I should be doing for retirement planning?
- What is the difference between revocable trusts and revocable living trusts? Which do I need for my estate plan?
- I have a blended family, how is this going to effect my estate planning?
- I’m a parent of a child with special needs, how is this going to effect my estate planning?
In answering each of these questions with your estate planning attorney, you may or may need to create a document to go along with each question. These documents will become your estate planning tools. Creating a will and creating a trust (or many trust accounts) are considered regular parts of an estate plan, but how these documents are created differ from plan to plan. The more experienced your estate planning lawyer is, the better they will be at helping your beneficiaries avoid high estate taxes, going into probate and experiencing high inheritance taxes.