Preparing to make an estate plan

On Behalf of Griswold LaSalle Cobb Dowd & Gin LLP

It is helpful to know how to prepare for the estate planning process. There are several steps that estate planners can take to help ensure they are ready to develop an estate plan that meets their needs and accomplishes their wishes.

  • Inventory property and assets – estate planners should inventory their property an assets including tangible and intangible assets. Examples can range from a home to investments.
  • Account for the needs of the family – estate planners should think about the needs of their family which may mean they need to name a guardian for minor children or ensure they have enough life insurance.
  • Review beneficiaries – estate planners should carefully review who they want to receive what. They should also ensure documents such as life insurance documents and retirement accounts include up-to-date beneficiary information.
  • Establish directives – estate planners should review their options for medical directives and powers or attorney for medical and financial affairs. They should also review how a trust may be able to help them achieve their goals for their estate plan.
  • Be familiar with their state’s estate planning and tax laws – estate planner’s should familiarize themselves with estate planning rules, such as rules associated with wills and what makes them valid, and estate tax consequences in their state.
  • Make a plan to review the estate plan – estate plans should be regularly reviewed as the estate planner’s life and assets change. They should also be reviewed whenever the estate planner experiences a major life change.

When estate planning, it is beneficial to be prepared. By reviewing that estate planner’s circumstances beforehand, estate planners can help ensure they use estate planning tools to achieve an estate plan that is best for them and their family.

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