A lot of people put estate planning on the back burner because they don’t know where to begin. They cannot conceptualize the planning process in totality, so they are frozen with inaction.
With this in mind, we will share five of the steps that you should take when you start to consider what your estate plan will look like.
Evaluate Your Financial Position
The first step is to get an idea of what you will have to pass along to your loved ones. Obviously, this is an imperfect science for many people, but you should be able to make a reasonably accurate projection.
In addition to the physical property and monetary resources, you should also take stock of any family heirlooms that you may have in your possession. It can be very meaningful to think long and hard about which person will be the ideal caretaker for each of these important items.
Decide on an Estate Administrator
If you use a last will as your primary estate planning document, the administrator would be the executor. You should give this choice some thought when you are putting your outline together.
This is not a purely ceremonial role that you bestow on someone as an honor. There are very real financial tasks must be completed, and there are legal requirements.
There is also some personal financial liability, so you should make sure that you choose someone that is well-suited to assume the role.
While this may seem like an instance in overstating the obvious, you should definitely ask the person that you have in mind if they are willing to serve as the executor.
When you learn about all the advantages, you may choose to use a revocable living trust as the centerpiece of your estate plan. The trustee is the administrator of a living trust.
You could act as the trustee while you are alive and well, and the successor that you name in the trust declaration would assume the position after your passing. It is similar to the role of the executor, so the person should possess the same qualities.
There are professional fiduciaries that offer executor and trustee services. This is an option that you may want to explore if you do not know any suitable candidates.
Asset Distribution Decisions
The third step will be to make the asset distribution determinations. For some people, this will be easy, and it can be more complicated for others. Choices that you make during this phase will impact the next step in the process.
Choose an Asset Transfer Vehicle
You then have to decide on the legal device that you will use to facilitate the asset transfers. As we have touched upon, a living trust can be a good choice for a wide range of people.
This being stated, there are other trusts that can satisfy different specific objectives that can enter the picture depending on your intentions and the proclivities of the inheritors. There are many options, so it is important to make the right choices.
Schedule a Consultation With an Attorney
It is difficult to make that last choice by yourself, because as a layperson, you are not going to have a full understanding of the possibilities. After you have all of the basics figured out, it is time to schedule an appointment with an attorney so you can become apprised of your options.
If you are ready to do that right now, we would be more than willing to provide the assistance that you need. All of our clients receive personalized attention, because every situation is different. We can gain understanding of your goals and help you put the ideal plan in place.
You can set the wheels in motion right now if you give us a call at 585-374-5210. There is also a contact form on this website you can use to send us a message.