If you have an appointment lined up with an estate planning lawyer, it's a good idea to get as many of your ducks in a row as possible. Here are four things you can do in advance of a session with an estate planning attorney to make the process a bit simpler.
Perform a Complete Inventory of Assets, Accounts, and Liabilities
Anyone who has ever felt like life is the relentless accumulation of stuff is going to get a ton of confirmation from speaking with an estate planning lawyer. Start with the big items, particularly things like real estate, vehicles, art, and luxury collectibles.
Especially with properties, it's also wise to conduct a title search to confirm there aren't any outstanding issues such as liens, judgments, court orders, or easements. Although there's a small chance you were a victim of such activity, there's still the possibility too that the property was the subject of title fraud. It's best to clear these kinds of issues up while you have the opportunity.
Similarly, you'll want to go through all of the accounts you have, including things like checking, savings, brokerage, retirement, and HSAs. An estate planning lawyer will likely encourage you to set up payable-on-death benefits to transfer the proceeds immediately without going through the estate or probate processes.
Your Family's Current Situation
If you're worried that a spouse or dependent might not do well financially if you pass, now is the time to buy life insurance. Folks who are fairly young should take advantage of the low costs to buy more. Likewise, you should calculate how much the beneficiaries will need to get by each year to ensure the policies will issue enough money when needed.
Thinking About More Than a Will
When you imagine an estate planning attorney, you probably just picture someone who helps clients write wills. There are many other legal instruments an estate planning lawyer will use, though.
For example, you'll want to have a power of attorney in place in case you disappear or are incapacitated. Likewise, medical directives should be established, especially if you have personal or religious concerns about how end-of-life care might be administered.
It's also common for folks to establish trusts to transfer assets to their beneficiaries. This will streamline the process and keep more of the estate out of probate.
Contact every beneficiary you plan to name in your estate. Get detailed contact information for each of them, and ask for contact info for at least two alternate parties who can get in touch with them if necessary.
Visit a site such as https://www.linskylaw.com to learn more.
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