At Morris Hall, we are privileged to meet with people on a daily basis to discuss their estate planning needs. Many of our clients come prepared with questions and notes, and have a pretty good understanding of what they want in their estate plan. In contrast, others don’t know what questions to ask and have very little knowledge of their estate planning options. Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, there are things you can do to be better prepared for your estate planning consultation. Here a just a few:
1. Talk to your family about your desire to create an estate plan.
Having a conversation with loved ones can provide you with the support and assurance that you are taking the right steps. Most estate plans impact multiple family members either in a beneficiary capacity or because they are named as an agent or successor trustee. The conversation need not be in-depth; quite the contrary, an estate plan is a private matter. Nevertheless, a basic conversation can help provide understanding and can help diffuse any potential conflicts.
2. Do your homework
I know most people cringe when they hear the term “homework,” but I’m talking about doing simple things that can make your consultation more productive. Here are some examples:
- Identify and calculate an estimate of the assets you currently own.
- Identify who you want to handle your financial and medical affairs should something prevent you from acting on your own behalf.
- Identify beneficiaries, and what will happen to a beneficiary’s share should they predecease you.
- Review any existing estate planning documents and make sure they are valid. Many clients come to a consultation thinking they have an estate plan, only to realize the documents were not properly executed.
- Research the firm you’ll be working with. Select a firm that primarily focuses on estate planning.
For many people, creating an estate plan is an emotional roller coaster. Many people make the decision to create a plan, but get derailed when it comes time to put the plan into action. Once you decide to create your estate plan, stick with it—don’t let anyone or anything stop you. Remember, you are creating a plan that will benefit you and the people or causes you care about.
Hopefully these tips will help you in taking your next step toward establishing your estate plan.
Contributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney Darren Richardson.
What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down. The attorneys also help those in Arizona to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.