Starting a will seems intimidating. The process of starting a will is easier when broken down into steps.
First, gather all documents you think you will need. This includes statements for any bank accounts, brokerage accounts, as well as any other investment and retirement accounts. Further, gather life insurance policies, deeds for any real property, vehicle titles, and valuations for other personal property, such as art and jewelry. Assemble personal tax returns for at least the past five years. Additionally, collect credit card statements and statements from any other debts you and your family have.
Complete estate planning includes planning for businesses owned, along with any interests in a business. Gather business tax returns for at least the past five years. Assemble any business valuations completed previously.
Second, contact a qualified, experienced estate planning attorney prior to starting a will. Internet sites, books, and TV financial gurus all suggest that individuals can perform estate planning themselves. In truth, estate planning needs to be done professionally, ensuring the best, up-to-date result. Drivers do not perform their own oil changes — why would an individual think he or she could do estate planning? Starting a will with an attorney is not cheap, but having it done properly provides peace of mind and avoids problems for heirs.
Third, provide additional documentation requested by your attorney. A professional knows what he or she needs and must be provided a complete an accurate view of your estate.
Finally, rely on the advice of your attorney. Your attorney is a professional and will advise you prior to starting a will.
Understanding Estate Planning when Starting a Will
Be aware that estate planning with an attorney does not always proceed as expected. Entering the meeting, you may be fully prepared for starting a will. However, it is possible, depending on your unique family circumstances, your attorney will suggest a different form of estate planning. An experienced, qualified estate attorney assists clients in making decisions based on the needs of the client’s estate.
How Different Choices Impact Your Estate and Inheritance Plans
When starting a will, listen to your attorney and follow his or her advice. Different estates present different challenges. Estate planning is a reflection of your values and desires. For example, some use estate planning to support a favorite charity. Some choose to divide an estate evenly between heirs. Others choose to skip typical heirs or an entire generation, leaving the proceeds of their estate to grandchildren instead. Estate planning allows individuals to craft an estate plan that meets their specific needs.
If You are Considering Estate Planning
If you are considering estate planning of any kind, contact the attorneys at Doane & Doane, P.A. Every family, and every family situation is different. What may have worked well for a friend or family member may not work for you. You don’t live a cookie cutter life, and your estate planning needs are not cookie cutter either. To ensure the very best estate planning for you and your family, we offer a complimentary initial consultation. Together, we can make decisions about how to best serve your family, while respecting your wishes. Contact us today at 561-656 0200.