The Wheaton estate planning process is a bit different for each person because no two estates are exactly alike. However, one common misconception is that estate planning is something you only need to think about if you have a great deal of wealth or operate a family business. The fact is that everyone in Wheaton has an estate and therefore everyone needs an estate plan.

The estate planning process includes some assessment, some education, and some decision making before a plan could be finalized. Many people find it helpful to work with an estate planning attorney who could ensure that they consider all aspects of the plan and that the plan complies with legal requirements.

Inventory for Estates

One of the first steps that should occur in the Wheaton estate planning process is a frank assessment of assets and liabilities. It could take some time and effort to list everything of value and every debt, but a plan created without a thorough inventory could cause more problems than it solves.

When listing assets and liabilities, it could be helpful to include account numbers and the location of paperwork and contact information for managers or advisors. A copy of the inventory should be given to the individual who is to handle the estate’s affairs. In Wheaton, this individual is often referred to as an executor or personal representative.

Consider Goals

Many people think the goals of their estate plan are so obvious that they do not need to be put in writing, but often committing something on paper could help focus thinking toward that goal. For a large number of people, protecting the future of loved ones is a primary goal, but there may be secondary concerns as well, such as providing for a favorite cause or charity.

Those who have a family business may need to consider a variety of needs and objectives. As part of the Wheaton estate planning process, an experienced estate planning lawyer could assist in assessing and prioritizing goals. An attorney could then propose different options for meeting those objectives.

Preparing Documents

Estate planning used to consist primarily of drawing up a will. Today, however, estate planners make use of a variety of documents to accomplish a wide range of purposes.

In the Wheaton estate planning process, it may make sense to consider using:

  • A revocable “living” trust to avoid probate
  • Irrevocable trusts to reduce tax liability
  • Powers of attorney to enable others to make financial or healthcare decisions in the event of incapacity
  • Health care directives to explain your healthcare desires to others
  • Life insurance to protect family or business interests
  • Prepaid funeral plans or other vehicles to provide for final expenses

An experienced estate planner could review available options and explains the pros and cons of each. It would also be wise to consider beneficiary designations on various accounts to ensure that they align with the goals of the estate plan.

Assistance with the Wheaton Estate Planning Process

Estate planning is undoubtedly complicated and since no one wants to think of about the end of their life, people tend to rush through the process or even worse, avoid it entirely. This could have painful ramifications for family and friends in the future.

Working with a professional who understands the considerations involved could make the Wheaton estate planning process easier to navigate and could result in a more comprehensive plan. Preparing a plan for the future could help you more fully enjoy the opportunities presented today.