November 3, 2016
While it is a matter often ignored for many years, preparing a Will, Power of Attorney and Advanced Healthcare Directive is very important for any adult. In order to have a successful initial estate planning meeting, here are some questions to think about:
- Why do I need an estate plan? An estate plan is more than just a Will; it is a process that you undertake, with the assistance of an attorney, to be sure that all of your assets are directed in a way that you choose. It also allows you to plan for the tax consequences your heirs may encounter upon your death. It is a way to assist your family at a difficult time by planning ahead to make things easier for them.
- What do I have? In order to best be able to plan, your attorney will need to know what types of assets you have – real estate, retirement accounts, life insurance, investments and other personal items. Knowing the value of these accounts and collections or other personal items is also helpful. Sharing this information will allow your attorney to evaluate the whole picture and make recommendations.
- Who are the key people? It is important to think about who your beneficiaries will be - this could be a spouse, children, siblings, charities or others. Deciding who will handle the necessary paperwork upon your death or during your lifetime is also important. Who will you name as executor? Who will your medical agent be? Who will you name as your agent under your Power of Attorney?
- How will my estate be distributed? Will you leave your assets to a spouse? Will you leave your assets to children? Are there others who depend on you for financial support that you should consider in your Will? How will assets such as retirement accounts and life insurance, that are not directed by your Will, be distributed? These are questions to consider and discuss at your initial meeting with one of our estate planning attorneys.
- When will my children, or other beneficiaries, receive their inheritance? If your beneficiaries are minors, it may be wise to consider a testamentary trust . This allows you to retain some control over how the assets are spent and the time the assets are fully distributed, even after your death. For parents, this is especially important to ensure someone is available to guide your children and manage the proper spending of their inheritance.
When you meet with one of the attorneys at High Swartz LLP about your Estate Plan, these are questions that will be discussed and answered. If you don’t have a Will or Power of Attorney, or you haven’t updated your estate plan recently, now would be a good time to schedule an estate planning meeting to discuss these questions. For more information, contact us at 610-275-0700 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information above is general: we recommend that you consult an attorney regarding your specific circumstances. The content of this information is not meant to be considered as legal advice or a substitute for legal representation.