When you think about estate planning, you probably envision it being a very complex process. While it can involve complicated issues, estate planning should also encompass a significant amount of common sense. For one, take time to really think about what you want to accomplish with your estate plan. You take time to plan your daily tasks and figure out ways to make life easier, so apply these same principles to your estate plan:
- Stop procrastinating. If you wait until you are under a deadline (or until it is too late), it makes the process more expensive as well as more stressful. The more you can pre-plan your estate plan, the more likely you will have success in meeting your goals. In fact, there are certain areas of estate planning (such as Medicaid, retirement and long term care) that you should start thinking about years before you believe you’ll actually need it.
- Get organized. You have probably learned that making a list of what you need before you go to the store makes your shopping trip easier and quicker. The same principle applies to estate planning because the more forethought you put into setting your goals, the easier it is for your lawyer to efficiently achieve those goals.
- Understand it is an investment. Don’t be tempted to use the cheapest attorney you can find without investigating his or her experience and reputation in the area of estate planning. Your estate plan is an investment for the future, so you want to ensure that your plan will stand the test of time.
- How do you know whether you have found someone with experience and ability? Try this test: (i) ask how many will or trust clients they met with in the last week and month; (ii) ask whether they understand probate and tax laws; and (iii) go online and see what areas of law they practice. If their online presence includes personal injury, divorce, DUI, criminal defense, bankruptcy, etc. they are not a specialist in estate planning.
- You may not make everyone happy. It is important to realize that your estate plan may not please all of your heirs. However, it is your property, assets and wealth that is being distributed, so you should do what you want in creating your estate plan.
If you do not have an estate plan or you have one that is outdated, let us help. The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.