Step 1: Find an Attorney
Establishing an estate plan may seem daunting, but the first step is to locate a competent attorney who can guide you through the entire process and ensure that your assets will pass to the right people with minimal delays and costs. You will get the best estate planning advice from someone who practices exclusively in the area of Estate Planning and Estate Settlement. The law changes every year. You and your family need someone who keeps up with these changes for you. Also, recommendations are often a reliable means of locating an estate planning attorney. You can look for recommendations from others to see if they describe the type of attorney that you are looking for who can complete the work that you are seeking to be done.
Step 2: Meet with the Attorney
After locating an attorney, set up an appointment to have a conversation about what your estate plan should include. The attorney will likely make certain recommendations to you in order to complete your customized estate plan. Often, people find it most beneficial to work with someone who will consult with them without a fee in order to determine if the attorney and the services they provide are the best fit for them.
Step 3: Be Prepared to Discuss Your Property and Family
For the initial consultation, it is beneficial to provide the attorney with a general list of your assets and their values. The attorney will be able to determine if any special planning will be necessary to reduce potential tax consequences. When you meet with the attorney, also be prepared to answer the following questions:
· If you are married, how do you want to leave assets to your spouse?
· How do you want to leave assets to your children? Do you want to leave assets to them outright or in a special inheritance trust?
· Who do you want to handle your financial affairs for you during your lifetime in the event that you cannot do it yourself?
· Who do you want to make medical decisions for you if you are unable?
Once you answer these and other questions, your attorney should have the necessary information to draft the appropriate estate planning documents.
Justin T. Crain is an estate planning attorney in the Plano, Texas office of Thomas Walters Estate Planning where he provides legal services including Wills, Trusts, Gun Trusts, Guardianship Administration, Probate, Estate Administration, Medicaid Planning and Nursing Home Planning to those in the surrounding areas of North Texas.