Estate Planning Checklist:
Things to Know Before You Start
Sept. 29, 2022
When you first start estate planning, you may be overwhelmed by all the choices in front of you. Admittedly, it can be hard to know what should happen with your assets and how you can best support your loved ones after you pass. Even though you’ll have many tough decisions to make when creating an estate plan, they are necessary ones, and working with an estate planning attorney can help.
If you’re in the Southlake, Texas, area or anywhere in Tarrant County and Denton County, as well as the surrounding cities of Flower Mound, Keller, and Colleyville, contact Redding Law Office for personalized legal advice you can trust.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning simply refers to the planning of what should happen to your assets and estate after you pass away. This is commonly achieved by writing a will, but many people choose to include other documents such as a trust, advance directive, or power of attorney.
In addition to stipulating where your assets should go, an estate plan can also name legal guardians for minor children and pets, outline your medical wishes should you become incapacitated or unable to communicate, and name someone who can make financial and legal decisions on your behalf.
However, before you begin working with an attorney, you should educate yourself on the basics and be able to answer the question, “What is involved in drafting an estate plan?” Below is a checklist of topics to explore so you know what to consider before you start your estate plan.
What Should I Consider Before I Draft an
Know your goals: Before you start signing any documents, take the time to consider what your larger goals are for your estate. Are you concerned about tax implications? Do you have considerable debt? Do you want to leave all your assets to your children? To a spouse? To a charitable organization? It’s likely that you’ll have several goals and a well-written estate plan can cover all of them.
List your assets and debts: Your attorney will want to know exactly what’s included in your estate, including assets and debts. List everything from bank accounts, retirement accounts, property, vehicles, jewelry, family heirlooms, investments, and business shares, as well as all unpaid debt.
Consider possible beneficiaries: As you age and your life becomes more complicated, it’s likely your beneficiaries will change. Know that you can modify your estate plan any time you need to reflect major life changes such as remarriage or welcoming a new child into the world.
Who do you trust to make financial, legal, and healthcare decisions for you?: In the event you become incapacitated and unable to communicate your needs, you’ll need to name someone who can make decisions on your behalf. This person can use your estate plan as a guide, but they may need to make difficult decisions on their own, so this should be someone responsible that you trust completely to act in your best interests.
Do you have any loved ones who will need special provisions?: Estate plans allow you to name a guardian for minor children or adult-age children with special needs. You can also name guardians of pets.
What charities would you like to support?: Many people choose to leave a portion of their estate to a charitable or philanthropic organization.
Will you need a business succession plan?: If you’re a partner in a business, you will also need to lay out a plan for who succeeds you and what will happen to your share of the company.
Legal Guidance Tailored to You
If you’d like to get started drafting an estate plan but aren’t sure where to start, reach out to Redding Law Office Southlake, Texas, to speak with an experienced attorney today.