It’s a situation undoubtedly familiar to many in Brevard County: they have a will but wonder if they should take the next step and sit down with an estate planning attorney. While the will takes care of the basics, it leaves unaddressed some more complex issues that your heirs might face.
What’s why a wealth management adviser writing for Kiplinger recommends an estate plan that will answer a short series of fundamental questions that begins like so: “What do you want to happen after you pass away?”
The wealth adviser says she works with business owners, doctors, accountants and those who are getting ready to retire. All of them should sit down with a trusted lawyer experienced in estate planning and try to answer not only what they want to happen after they pass on, but why they want it to happen and what will ensure that it does happen.
She said most of her clients have documents that take care of that first question (a will, powers of attorney, trust and a health care directive), but they rarely explain intent. In other words, they rarely lay out your reasons for choosing to leave money or property to one person and not another.
She said an estate plan will provide clarity that can be particularly important if you have had multiple marriages and blended families. Another estate-planning bonus: your heirs will likely have to part with far less in taxes, fees and court expenses – and in the process avoid costly, painful inter-family battles over assets after you have passed.
The wealth adviser says that before you sit down with your attorney to plan your estate, first make a statement of your current net worth. That’s a complete list of your assets (house, personal property, retirement accounts, etc.), debts (mortgage, car loans, credit card debt, etc.) and life insurance.
Check out her article for more pre-planning steps to take before you call your lawyer to discuss your estate plan.