Many times, people believe an estate plan is accomplished with a “Will.” Many do not know or understand why. Additionally, they do not know that a “Will” is not enough, and, in fact, may not be necessary.
“You know, you need to get a Will.” “Make sure you have a Will.” “My wife and I are getting ready to go out of the country, we need to get a Will in place.”
For the last few decades, the need to have a Will has been the mantra that has driven a person’s estate plan. Suffice to say, it is a great marketing plan for Probate Attorneys, but probably does not meet the actual need for an estate plan. What the Will does and what it does not do is not clear to most people. Further, what is necessary to make up a good estate plan often goes beyond a mere Will.
What is an Estate Plan
An Estate Plan is a process. To create a “plan,” it is necessary to
– Contemplate the person or persons another person wants to take care of,
– Assess the assets that the person own,
– Be aware of possible tax consequences of distribution,
– Appoint authority to person(s) to make decisions on behalf of the person making the plan, and
– Consider concerns of the person with regards potential heirs and assets.
The resulting documents as well as a plan for use of and execution of techniques represent the Estate Plan Strategy.
What Should be Included in My Estate Plan – 5 Essential Documents
Ultimately, your Estate Plan includes documentation that will be necessary to allow decision-making to assist you (and your spouse) at some point in the future. It will also have some documentation and techniques to provide guidance as to how assets are to be used and distributed at future points in your life. These documents include:
– Financial Power of Attorney,
– Healthcare Power of Attorney,
– Pre-Authorization to release health information (HIPAA Waiver),
– End of Life Instruction/Guidance,
– Current Medical Information to help decision-makers know your health situation and wishes, and
– Proper legal documentation to settle your estate and distribute you property the way you wish, preferrably in a time-and-expense-efficient manner.
How do You Take Care of People and Things – 5 Essential Questions
You need proper legal documentation and/or planning techniques to provide for Asset and Beneficiary distribution plans. The way estate planning attorney RG Skadberg assists you to develop these plans is with 5 Essential Questions. These cut to the point to identify:
– people you need or want to take care of,
– your assets and what you want done with them, and
– your primary goals of planning.
Based on the conversation regarding these questions, planning guidance and technique options can be identified.
Common Pieces, Not Cookie-Cutter Plan
You may think that your sibling, parents, or neighbors have similar types of assets and values as you. You may even have the same number of kids. However, you are more unique than you realize. For planning purposes, how you own property, what you owe, your beneficiaries situations, and many other factors can make substantial differences in your plan.
Why take a chance…
You can take advantage of a free, 30-minute consultation to begin the process to frame up your “estate” and your “plan” needs. Attorney RG Skadberg offers this meeting to help you:
– Understand things to consider,
– Have your questions addressed, and
– Start to organize some options for you to consider to include in your estate plan.
In preparation for the meeting or to start the thought process, download the 5 Essential Documents & 5 Essential Questions worksheet.