What are the six essential steps to producing a quality estate plan, and how do you implement that plan? This is a common set of questions that apply to most people who want to plan for after they have passed. The six steps are as follows, and they will change slightly depending on your goals and resources.
Perhaps the most significant step is the first one. During this phase, you want to identify your options and then pick a type of trust that works for you and your estate. These include wills, letters of intent, Power of Attorney, beneficiary, distributions, and guardianships if needed.
Which type or types of estate tools will work best for your situation? To truly answer that question, you will need the other five steps. In that way, the first step may also be the last.
You will need to know how much money and assets you have and how you plan to utilize those as you age or when you pass away. Already, there are two options – what you need now and moving forward, and what happens after you pass. A quality estate plan will deal with the here and now and that which follows.
You will need to discuss your options and then set goals by talking with someone who can help you:
One reason to start the estate planning process early is so that you have time to evaluate your situation and resources, and then implement the legal options you’ve outlined as your plan. As you begin the estate process, you are discussing with loved ones and your legal team, the things that need to be in place. That may include who will be executor, who may have power of attorney, and medical oversight as you age or if you become unable to care for yourself or speak for yourself. Who gets what and how much can be open or revealed after you’ve passed.
Now that those who will oversee your plan have been notified, you can begin setting up your estate according to your plan of action. The legal framework can be created, assets assigned, tax planning in place, etc.
For many people step five may seem like the end. Your plan is executed, the legal documents reviewed, signed, filed, etc. However, there is one last step.
Because laws change, you will need to periodically review your plan, understand how changes to taxation and laws impact your plan and then make appropriate changes to protect your estate and ensure that your estate plan remains viable.
The process may sound daunting, but an estate planning attorney can help you navigate through it in the easiest way possible. Charles Stark is an experienced lawyer who works with estates of all sizes throughout the greater Sonoma County, Ca area. He helps his clients to plan, implement, and execute estate planning that fits their needs.