ASK TOM: Estate Planning seems like a complicated task. How do I Start?
This is a common question that our clients ask. Starting to plan your estate can be a daunting, and even emotional process. Many people avoid thinking or talking about anything that reminds them they are not 18 anymore. We cannot look into a crystal ball to know the time of our inevitable death, but it should be top priority for everyone to get their affairs in order. Now we understand why it can be difficult yet important to get your estate planning off the bottom of your to-do list it still doesn’t explain how to start.
The best way to begin planning is by gathering information regarding your assets, liabilities, family, and contact information for family members, accountant, insurance agent, stockbroker, and other advisors. At our office we provide an estate planning questionnaire to organize all of this information in one place and guide you through the estate planning process (you can request a free estate planning questionnaire by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org).
Once you gather this information, it is time to meet with an attorney to discuss the best plan of action. It is important to research when choosing an attorney to find someone who has the knowledge to create a plan personalized to your life and family situation. You will also want an attorney with more than just a few years of experience and focus their practice on estate planning. These attorneys will be more knowledgeable of estate law and will have solutions to estate planning concerns you may have.
In an initial estate planning meeting with an attorney you typically evaluate how comfortable you are with the attorney and their knowledge of estate planning. The attorney will gather enough information in the meeting to complete an initial draft of your estate planning documents. Within a few weeks of the initial meeting the attorney produces drafts of the documents for your review and consideration. In the last meeting the documents are typically reviewed, finalized and signed.
If you’ve been putting off your estate planning, here is a friendly reminder that it’s time to get started.
JensenBayles, LLP provides a broad spectrum of legal services. Thomas J. Bayles has been actively providing advice in the areas of trusts, wills, probate and tax planning in the St. George market for over 18 years. Please visit our web site www.JensenBayles.com or call 435-674-9718 and ask for Thomas J. Bayles. The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as legal advice. Please contact an attorney for legal advice specific to your situation.