Do you have an estate plan? Does the thought of drafting your last will and testament feel overwhelming? Congratulations on making the decision to plan for your future and the future of your family. Now, it is time to address the next step: meeting with a lawyer.
Depending on your situation and assets, estate planning can be relatively simple or extremely complicated. Either way, seek the help of an experienced estate planning attorney who will guide you through the process.
Important aspects of estate planning
When you begin to prepare to meet with an estate planning attorney for the first time, it is helpful to think through a few aspects of your plan. Naturally, you will discuss obvious issues like assets, property and benefactors. However, a solid, detailed estate plan should also take into consideration other factors such as:
- Tax planning: You want to leave your family your assets when you are gone, but you don't want them to be stuck with a hefty tax bill. Comprehensive estate planning can help to reduce the tax liability associated with your estate. In some cases, you may even be able to eliminate the tax burden altogether.
- Divorce: No one likes to think about a potential divorce any more than eventual death. However, it is important to understand the effects a divorce can have on estate planning, especially when children are involved. If your children are under the age of 18 at your death, your ex-spouse will probably oversee any amounts they inherit. A detailed estate plan allows you more control over how and when these funds are distributed.
- Blended families: If you remarry, children from your former marriage, your new spouse's children and the children you have together should be specifically addressed in your estate plan. Your new spouse may have children from a prior relationship and you may have additional children together. Their continued care may depend on the relationship between them and your surviving spouse. Including them in your estate planning gives you peace of mind that they will receive all to which they are entitled.
- Emotional aspects: Not everything in your estate is associated with a price tag. Some things have an emotional value that far outweighs its monetary value. If there are things in your estate that you know certain relatives would really appreciate, even if they seem small and insignificant, create a list as a part of your estate plan. Not only will the recipients have something to remember you by, the list can also help the family avoid disputes that often arise following a loved one's death.
A detailed plan protects those you love
The specific details of your estate plan depend on multiple factors, such as your assets and family situation. A solid, comprehensive estate plan will help protect your family. Tap into the knowledge of the skilled attorneys at The Hughes Law Firm, P.C.