When you set out to create an estate plan , you and your attorney will work closely to develop an array of tools that will help you accomplish each of your goals. While no two estate plans are identical, the tools you create will have to meet some very specific legal requirements. Your attorney will not only tell you what important issues your plan will have to address, but will also guide you through the process of creating tools that meet these legal standards.
While you go through the process of creating a plan, you will want to keep some important tips in mind. The legal aspect of creating a plan is one thing, but keeping yourself on track can be much easier if you remember some important points.
Tip 1. Making an estate plan is a process.
One the most important things you should understand as you go about the process of creating a plan is that your plan will not be something you can simply create and later forget about. Your estate plan will allow you to make different types of choices. Not only can your choices change over time, but the circumstances under which you make those choices might also change.
For example, the inheritance decisions you make today might not be the same you want to make later in your life. Further, different laws and court decisions might alter the options available to you. These, and other circumstances, could require you to change your plan as time goes on.
Tip 2. Estate plans don’t exist in a vacuum.
Your estate planning attorney is there to give you advice within the confines of the attorney–client relationship. However, just because your attorney is an expert, that doesn’t mean he or she should make all the decisions about your estate plan.
Many estate planning issues are very personal. If you feel that talking to close friends, family members, religious advisors, or other professionals is something you would like to do as you go about the planning process, you are free to do so. Making decisions with which you are comfortable is essential if you want to feel like your estate plan is as good as it can be.
Tip 3. You will leave behind an estate, but you might never become incapacitated.
Estate planning can be divided into two essential parts: plans that address what happens after you die, and plans that address what happens should you become incapacitated. While not everyone will become incapacitated, it’s nevertheless vital for you to create an incapacity plan as a part of your greater estate plan. No one can predict what the future holds, and failing to have an incapacity plan is a serious mistake.
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