After years as an estate planning attorney, I have come to expect that most of us will postpone planning our estates. After all, who wants to anticipate or dwell on his or her own demise? What’s more, there are those that think only the wealthy or those with tax issues need estate planning. Once the planning is completed however, most of my clients realize that both notions were wrong because their level of wealth and the ultimate tax consequences of their estate took a back seat to the planning and care of their family and other loved ones.
A revocable trust allows you to control the distribution of your assets and possessions, coupled with a “pour over will” that designates guardians for any minor children, it serves as a safety net if you have failed to “fund” the trust with a asset or two. As an estate planning law firm our fundamental task is to assist you with a complete analysis of your current estate by reviewing your financial position as of today and analyzing your family’s needs in the future.
Although it is often overused, the expression, 'knowledge is power' is true in estate planning . That's why we take the time to explain why you must plan for a family member who has special needs or requires medical attention, prepare for the cost of a college education when your children reach that age and determine how estate taxes may impact your assets as they are currently held. Disclosing this relevant information to us at the beginning of the planning phase helps us help you to develop an estate plan that will properly provide for your family’s needs.
In order to conduct a complete and thorough estate analysis, we will likely ask for all materials involving your current or future income, property ownership, insurance and any legal arrangements already in place. In addition, we ask you to educate us on all of your retirement benefits and plans: Social Security, IRAs, pensions and profit-sharing plans, investments, certificates of deposit, real estate, life insurance policies you own (as well as policies you have on others), beneficiaries, other trust agreements and your will. Along with this information we ask you to bring a list of your current and anticipated debts—like mortgage and loan balance, real estate liens, taxes, consumer debts and estimates on funeral costs and estate settlement fees.
Once all of this information is ready, you're ready to request your complimentary consultation, either online or by calling our office @ 757.259.0707. You've worked hard for everything you have; now it's time for you to work with us to form a rock solid estate plan.
Reference: The Sabetha (KS) Herald (August 9, 2016) “Understanding the estate planning process”