Working with an estate planning attorney is more than creating a will. Estate planning is human planning. Human planning means listening and advising on planning issues issues that may include:
- Wealth Transfers,
- Insurance Alignments,
- Health Challenges,
- Religious Considerations,
- Real Estate Issues,
- Probate Avoidance,
- Financial Decisions,
- Tax Planning,
- Longevity and Long Term Planning,
- Emergency and Disability Planning,
- Charitable Giving,
- Peace of Mind,
- And much more
For some, decision making comes easy. Others find the process educational, informative, reflective, and worthwhile.
The primary goal of an attorney from this law office is to advise, simplify, draft, and advocate. Of course, every person and couple has goals too, which normally are unexplored until a deep review of questions and facilitation.
Thus, please consider the following as you prepare to meet with an estate planning attorney.
Estate Planning Steps
Every person and every family is different. Here are a brief list of issues and topics related to the planning process:
Steps When Working with an Estate Planning Attorney
- Urgency and Immediate Concerns
The first step is determining whether time is of the essence. For some, this is a health issue. For others, immenency is a result of a life event or job responsibility.
- Organizing Contacts
The second step is organizing contact information of key family members and friends. Also, this may include professionals, religious leaders, or employment contacts.
- Identifying a Circle of Trust
The next step is helping a Client determine who may or may not be a person who can fill a role as an Attorney in Fact, Health Care Agent, Trustee, etc.
- Planning for Minor Children
This includes planning for medical emergencies, addressing gaps in financial needs and making clear decisions for guardianship.
- Creating a List of Necessary Tools
- Weighing the Pros and Cons of a Trust
Trusts are more than probate avoidance. And, there are many different types of trusts. Because we have an aggressive tax code and due to different family dynamics, an estate planning attorney can address whether a trust or trusts can have a very positive impact on a person’s legacy.
- Other Types of Assurances
The next step is addressing other types of opportunities that may impact the planning process. For example, long term care coverage, liability insurance needs, disability income issues, and a host of other considerations.
- Beneficiary Designations
Unfortunately, standard designation forms are not always adequate. Beneficiary forms need to coordinate with a will and revocable trust. Bank mergers, changing advisors, and weighing 5-10 year payout provisions are significant steps in the estate planning process.
- Matrimonial Planning
Divorce decrees, pre and post-nuptial agreements impact estates at different levels. For this reason, addressing matrimonial issues is relevant for each and every estate plan.
- Business Planning
Individuals and families with business ownership and management responsibilities have an extra level of estate planning needs that require attention. Every business is different and requires a different level of attention.
- Giving Back
Charitable considerations can reduce taxes, demonstrate important values to heirs, thank those that helped, memorialize a legacy, and inspire others to give.
An estate plan does not work unless the goals and objections inside a plan are properly communicated to others. This includes fiduciaries, trustees, beneficiaries, and an advisory team. Also, the communication step can require weighing the pros and cons of adding documents to a Cloud storage system.
- Review, Revisit, and Revise
Nearly every estate plan requires maintenance. After all, laws change, family dynamics change, assets and net worth go up and down, our health changes, and feelings change.
Questions for Each Estate
Of course, lots of people have questions and need direct feedback to them and their situation. Here are a few issues and topics to consider asking an estate planning attorney:
- Are there ways to manage assets effectively such that taxes payable can be reduced?
- What will happen upon incapacity?
- Is there assurance for a spouse, child, or family member that makes sure they are properly cared for?
- Protecting assets from unreasonable claims or liability;
- Help making medical decisions;
- Transferring ownership of retirement accounts and real property;
- Protection from financial threats;
- Providing for charity;
- Addressing a contingency plan.
Seeking help from an Estate Lawyer means different things to every person and family. Here are a few examples:
Estate Planning Services
- One-on-one Consultations,
- Drafting documents and memorandums,
- Document review,
- Representation during the probate process, and
- On-going advocacy at your discretion.
Again, because every person and every family dynamic is different, every plan should be different too.
Review, Revisit, and Revise
Sometimes, individuals and families worry that today’s plan might change tomorrow or thereafter. This is true for everyone. On the other hand, the more significant issue is helping those who will be placed in the position of taking action.
Planning is not maintenance free. Planning an estate requires attention to detail and a balance between rigidness and flexibility. When making these determinations, consider meeting with a professional to pinpoint potential outcomes and pitfalls.
Contact Estate Planning Attorney
You can contact attorney Jasper Berg by filling out the following information: