What’s at risk if you don’t have an estate plan? Who will protect your family and loved ones if the unexpected happens – or if you simply procrastinate and don’t create legal documents to protect your legacy.
An experienced estate planning attorney can assist you in drafting wills, a power of attorney, a family trust and other legal documents to protect your family’s future. But before meeting with an estate planning lawyer you should give some thought to your goals, prepare some documents and consider what you want to happen to your estate after you die.
1. Create An Inventory
When you prepare to meet with an estate planning attorney, it’s a good idea to have a personal asset inventory. This will help your attorney understand your situation and guide you on the best ways to protect your assets and pass them to your heirs.
An asset inventory is a list of all your valuable and sentimental possessions that you want to leave to your family, charitable organizations or other distributions. This inventory should include property, accounts, safety deposit boxes, storage units, jewelry and sentimental family treasures such as heirlooms, recipes, photo albums or scrapbooks.
2. Identify Your Beneficiaries
Who do you want to inherit your stuff? Make a list of your loved ones and family members, pets, charities and other organizations who you want to protect or receive some of your assets after you die. Make a list of all your accounts that have beneficiary designations, such as retirement accounts, pensions, IRAs and annuities.
3. Does Someone Need a Guardianship?
Do you have a spouse or family member who you care for? Does someone you love or care for have special needs that require protection after your death?
4. Gather Documentation
Assets that have a title of ownership should be listed, including where they can be found. Assets that have documentation include:
5. Choose An Executor
Who do you want to manage the execution of your will or trust? Do you want them to be paid for this responsibility? The executor of your estate could be appointed by the probate court if you do not choose someone.
6. What Happens If You Become Incapacitated?
Many people prepare a will or trust to distribute their assets after they die, but what if you are temporarily injured or become permanently mentally or physically incapacitated and unable to manage your affairs?
Generational wealth planning can provide a home, education or medical care to the 2nd or 3rd generation of your family.
Once you have completed your estate planning checklist, you should consult an experienced estate planning lawyer who understands probate laws in the state you live in. In Illinois for example, probate law has different requirements for a will to be legally valid, and a will executed in another state may not be recognized under Illinois law.
Estate planning is preparing for the future. Contact Estate & Probate Legal Group in Lombard Illinois today at 630-864-5835.