Estate planning helps to protect and guide your family and your assets when unexpected situations occur and provide end-of-life planning so your wishes are known and respected. 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 estate. Before meeting with an estate planning lawyer you should prepare some documents and consider what you want to happen to your estate after you die.
1. Create An Inventory
Make a list of all your valuable and sentimental assets that you want to leave to your family, charitable organizations or other distributions. This inventory should include property, bank accounts, safe deposit boxes, storage units, jewelry and family treasures such as recipes, photo albums or scrapbooks.
2. Identify Your Beneficiaries
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.
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 unable to manage your affairs?
7. Wealth Management
If your estate assets are valuable, you may want to put certain provisions in place to protect your estate against state and federal taxes and probate court expenses.
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. 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) 800-0112.