Estate planning, like most things in life, goes a lot more smoothly with a little preparation. An essential part of any plan involves identifying beneficiaries, finding the best way to manage your estate right now, and how to best preserve assets for future generations. There also may be essential decisions regarding the guardianship of minors or adults unable to care for themselves.
What to consider before reaching out to an attorney
While an attorney can guide you throughout the estate planning process, it can help to put some forethought into your goals and wishes before sitting down to actually create your plan. A few of the items you should consider prior to your estate plan meeting:
What are my goals for my estate plan?
While it may seem obvious, having a specific goal in mind before creating your plan can help the process go smoothly. Some people have blended families or want to establish trusts for particular charities or interests, and some have unique funeral requirements. Having a goal in mind can help you and your attorney create a focused plan.
Who would make a good person to designate in my power of attorney?
Designating a person in a power of attorney means designating someone to make important financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them yourself. It’s helpful to have a list of potential candidates you’ve spoken to and are ready to accept this designation.
Who should be my personal representative?
Personal representatives are responsible for administering your estate, including paying creditors, distributing your assets as specified in your will, and valuing your estate. It’s an important role best suited to someone you trust. One crucial aspect of choosing a personal representative is understanding Florida’s requirements. Having a list of potential representatives readily available can save time when creating your plan, and an attorney can help you choose based on eligibility and suitability.
This is just the beginning
These are just a few of the things to consider before reaching out to an attorney. You aren’t expected to have all the answers at your first estate planning meeting, but by considering these aspects you can expedite the process.
No one can predict the future, so it is wise to check back with your estate law attorney every few years or after significant changes like a divorce, grandchildren, an illness or something unforeseen.