ESTATE ATTORNEY: THE 3 P’S OF ESTATE PLANNING
When it comes to Estate Planning, one of the first things an estate attorney asks you to consider is the important people in your life for whom you want to help secure a future. These important people can include loved ones such as your spouse, your children, your parents, your siblings, any other relatives, or your friends. Additionally, important “people” can also include charities, universities, organizations, or churches to which you are committed. You may even have a special pet that you want to provide for in the event of your absence. Make a list of these “important people” with notes about their relationship to you. You are now well on your way to creating an Estate Plan!
When people hear the word “property,” they may think of a house or land. In this case, property refers to any asset you own or control. You will need to think through your assets in terms of their nature (cash, investment accounts, real estate), their value in thousands of dollars, and your ownership interest. Don’t forget to include any life insurance (death benefit), expected inheritances, or business interests. You will also need to ask yourself the following important questions:
– Do I own my assets individually?
– Do I own my assets jointly?
– Do I have a special arrangement like a trust for my assets?
Once you have figured out the important people in your life and have identified your assets, you can then begin the last part of the estate planning process – making a plan for these people and your property in the event of your death or incapacity. To start this process, you need to ask yourself several important questions that are vital to your future, your loved ones’ futures, and the transfer and protection of your property.
Who would you want to make financial decisions for you if you could no longer make them? What about medical decisions? Who would you want to have custody of your minor children in your absence? How would you divide your estate among your heirs?