If you feel that you are in need of an estate plan, it is important that you begin by selecting an estate planning attorney who can help you to create the fundamentals of the plan. In order to complete a thorough plan, here are four things you must consider with your estate planning attorney by your side:
Create a List of Current Assets:
Creating a list of your current assets is going to help your attorney determine your net worth. This is also going to help determine whether or not you actually have a taxable estate. If you have any debts, your attorney can then help you to devise a plan that can help to ease the financial strain on your loved ones after you have passed.
Next, you want to determine who the beneficiary will be. Of course, this must be your spouse if you are married unless he or she has decided to waive their rights to it through a premarital agreement.
Decide How Assets will be Distributed:
There are two ways in which the beneficiary can receive your assets once you have passed. One way could be to allow the beneficiary to have them all at once. Another is to develop a trust, which is essentially a bank account that the beneficiary has restricted access to. You can restrict access to the account until he or she reaches a certain age, for example, or you can set it so that it only allows them to take out a certain amount per year.
Determine Who Will be in Charge:
It is important that you assign someone to be in charge for distributing assets once you have passed or should you become too disabled to make decisions about your estate plan if any changes must be made to it. Be aware that you will want to pick at least two people to do this for you in case your first choice decides not to take responsibility or passes away.
By doing these four things to get started on your estate planning, the rest of the paperwork should be a breeze to get through since you will already have the most important decisions made. Be sure that you make all these decisions with an estate planning lawyer to ensure that you know you are making the wisest choices for the long term. Your lawyer (such as Lisa Cappolella Attorney at Law) will help advise you during the process to help you better understand how certain decisions will affect your assets once you have passed.
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