There is no doubt that Americans, and indeed, people all around the world, are in a time of constant change and uncertainty during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As such, it’s more important than ever to make plans for the future. Although many may not want to think about a time when they are unable to make decisions for themselves—either due to illness or injury—it’s in everyone’s best interest to remember that this time will come sooner or later.
Estate planning is a way to ensure that your wishes are carried out accordingly once you become incapacitated or pass away. It helps your family avoid probate—a process that can become contentious—and rest assured knowing that your wishes were fulfilled as you had intended.
Below, we discuss how to begin the estate planning process.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the process of arranging, during a person's life, for the management and disposal of that person's estate after their death.
Estate planning may include, but is not limited to, the formation of the following:
Plans for family members with special needs
Powers of attorney
Estate and gift tax planning
Business succession planning
How to Begin the Estate Planning Process
Before you begin the estate planning, ask yourself the following questions:
To whom do I want to leave my property and assets after I pass away?
Who do I want to make medical and end-of-life decisions for me if I cannot do so for myself?
Who do I want to care for any minor children in my household if I am no longer able to?
Once you know how you want these questions answered, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced estate planning attorney. Your attorney will ensure everything is drafted properly and that there are no questions as to what you meant in certain documents.
Attempting to do a DIY estate plan can have disastrous consequences, and may force your surviving loved ones to attend probate court to sort out any unclear wishes or requests in your will or other documents. This can be an extensive, emotionally taxing experience that no person wants to put their relatives through.
At Pearson Butler, we can help you draft a comprehensive estate plan that gives you control over your own legacy. Contact us today at (800) 265-2314 to schedule a consultation.