If you are among the millions of Americans who has yet to create and estate plan, doing so now may make you may feel a little intimidated. You may be concerned about what you need to do to prepare if you have made an appointment with an estate planning attorney. To help put you at ease, and to make the most out of your appointment, the Nashua estate planning attorneys at DeBruyckere Law Offices give you ideas for how to prepare for your estate planning consultation.
Define Your Goals
When you think about estate planning, you likely focus on executing your Last Will and Testament to ensure that your estate assets are distributed according to your wishes. Your Will may serve as the foundation for your estate plan; however, a comprehensive estate plan can accomplish much more than just the division of your estate assets when you are gone. What other estate planning goals do you wish to include?
Study Your Finances
You likely have a fairly good idea of where you stand financially; however, when it comes time to create your estate plan you need very detailed information. Make a list of all assets, including current fair market value (FMV) for each, and any identifying information such as account numbers, login and passwords, and/or the asset’s location. Make another corresponding list of debts and liabilities.
Get Documents Together
Your estate planning lawyer will probably need to look at, and/or gather information from, a number of documents you likely have in your possession. By putting these together ahead of time your initial consultation will be more productive. Documents you might need include:
- Previous Wills
- Birth certificates
- Marriage and divorce documents
- Trust agreements
- Living Will
- Power of attorney
- Life insurance policies
- Business documents for incorporation/partnership/buy-sell agreements etc.
- Ownership documents for major assets
Consider Roles within Your Plan
You probably already know who your major beneficiaries will be; however, there are a number of other important roles within your estate plan that you should be contemplating right now. Fiduciary roles, in particular, should be given considerable though so you can avoid a problem down the road. Who do you want to appoint as the Executor of your estate, for instance? Do not make the common mistake of appointing a spouse, friend, or family member without considering the duties and responsibilities involved in overseeing the probate of an estate. Likewise, if you decide to include a trust in your plan, you will need to appoint a Trustee. Your Trustee will not only be responsible for managing and investing your assets but will also be responsible for protecting your beneficiaries.
Write Down Questions
Since this is the first time you have created an estate plan, you are certain to have questions. To ensure that you do not forget to ask any of them, take the time now to write them down. That way you will be prepared when the time comes. In addition, you may only have a short period of time during your initial consultation, so the better prepared you are, the more productive the meeting will be in general.
Contact Nashua Estate Planning Attorneys
If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the Nashua estate planning attorneys at DeBruyckere Law Offices by calling our New Hampshire office at (603) 894-4141 or our Massachusetts office (978) 969-0331 to learn more or visit our website at http://dadlawoffices.com .
Your goals will be uniquely related to your life; however, some common goals include incapacity planning, asset protection planning, and probate avoidance.
It is never too early to create an estate plan. You do not need to wait until you have amassed a small fortune or started a family to benefit from having an estate plan in place.
For most people, a Last Will and Testament serves as their initial estate planning document; however, you may find that a trust is equally important at some point down the road.