New To Estate Planning? The Facts
The process of estate planning is significant but crucial for everyone. While you may think that you only need to estate plan if you have a high net worth, the truth is that everyone should have a plan for his or her estate. If you have never delved into the process of estate planning, there are some important things you need to know before you get started.
You Need a Will
A will is one of the most basic yet important tools you need as you begin estate planning. Your will is simply a document that lists what you want to happen with your assets when you pass away. The will also states who gets guardianship of your children or dependents after your death. The will also needs to include any special instructions you need to have in place upon your passing, such as plans for your burial, what happens to your house, and the like.
You Need an Attorney
As you move through the process of estate planning, you may begin to realize how complicated the process can be. To make estate planning easier and more streamlined, it is highly advisable to work with an estate planning attorney. He or she will ensure all of your documents are correctly filed and in proper order. If you unintentionally miss some seemingly minuscule details, your entire estate could be hampered. An attorney will ensure that everything is in order and that your plans will be legally enforceable.
You Need to Check Your Estate Plan Periodically
One thing to remember is that you cannot just plan once and be finished with the process. Estate planning is ongoing as major life events occur. This includes if you get married, have children, contract an illness, purchase a house, or something else happens in your life. You should have your attorney review your estate plan on occasion just to make sure you do not want to make any additional changes as your life evolves.
As you work with an attorney, you must be sure you are completely transparent and honest as you provide information about your estate. If you omit some information or you choose not to divulge certain things, you could leave behind a big mess for your beneficiaries. For instance, if you choose to leave a child out of your will and your attorney does not know, that child may come forward later on to challenge your estate. If you are upfront with your intentions about leaving a child out of the will, let your attorney know. He or she can include certain provisions in the will to prevent this issue.
To learn more, contact an estate planning attorney.