What To Consider Before Visiting an Estate Planning Attorney
Embarking on the estate planning journey is a commendable decision, ensuring your loved ones are taken care of and your wishes are honored. However, the process can be complex and often overwhelming, especially when you’re unprepared. To streamline the experience and make the most of your consultation with an estate planning attorney, think about certain crucial factors ahead of time.
Guardianship for Minor Children
One of the most pressing concerns for parents is determining who will take care of their minor children in the event of their untimely death. This entails two main decisions.
This person (or couple) will be responsible for the day-to-day care of your children. Consider whether the potential guardian shares your values, has a good relationship with your children, and can provide a stable home environment. Will your children have to relocate, and is that something you’re comfortable with?
This individual will manage any assets left to the children until they reach the age you determine. The trustee can be the same as the physical guardian, but they don’t have to be. Always choose someone trustworthy, financially responsible, and who will act in your children’s best interests.
Think about the medical interventions you would want or not want if you were unable to make decisions due to incapacity. Some considerations might include:
- Resuscitation measures
- Life-support decisions
- Pain management
- Organ and tissue donation
If you are incapacitated, you’ll need someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. This person, called a healthcare proxy or medical power of attorney, should be someone who you trust implicitly, understands your wishes, and can handle the weight of decision-making during stressful times.
Financial Power of Attorney
Similar to a healthcare proxy, this individual will make financial decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to do so. Reflect on someone in your circle who is not only trustworthy but also has the financial acumen to manage your assets wisely.
Distribution of Assets
Decide how you want to divide your estate. Do you want to distribute assets equally among your children, or are there specific bequests you’d like to make? Think about tangible assets (like real estate, cars, jewelry) and intangible assets (like stocks, bonds, and bank accounts).
Special Provisions and Gifts
Beyond the traditional assets, consider any special gifts or provisions you’d like to make. This could include donations to charitable organizations, funds for a grandchild’s education, or family heirloom bequeaths.
Funeral and Posthumous Wishes
While a somber topic, you should think about your funeral arrangements. Would you prefer burial or cremation? Is there a specific place you’d like to be buried or have your ashes spread? Additionally, consider posthumous wishes like how you’d like to be remembered or any commemorations you’d want.
Consider the dynamics of your family. Are there any concerns about someone contesting the will? Is there a family member who might need more financial support than others? Being proactive about potential disputes can help your attorney create a robust estate plan.
Life is not static, and changes in your family, assets, or wishes can affect your estate plan. Consider how often you’d like to re-evaluate your plan with your attorney.
Cost and Payment
Lastly, have a clear understanding of how the estate planning process will be billed. Is it hourly, or a flat fee? Are there additional costs for changes or re-evaluations?
Contact Crews Law Offices to set up a consultation once you are ready with the answers to these crucial questions. By providing clear answers, you enable the attorney to craft a precise, tailored plan that aligns with your wishes, providing peace of mind for both you and your loved ones.