ESTATE PLANNING CHECKLIST: WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU START
While everyone should strive to have a positive outlook on life, it is still important to protect your assets and make sure that your wishes are known to your loved ones. Life is full of unexpected twists, which is why a well-drafted estate plan can protect you and your family during turbulent times.
However, many people do not understand what documents they need in order to set up a comprehensive estate plan or what things to consider before they start planning. The Law Office of Rodney Gould offers consultations to those who need help creating an estate plan.
As a knowledgeable estate planning attorney in Los Angeles, California, Rodney Gould will help you understand what steps you need to take to satisfy your long-term goals and guide you through every step of the estate planning process.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is a term used to describe the process of protecting your property and loved ones in the event of your death and providing instructions for handling your medical and financial affairs in the event of incapacity. An estate plan is used to ensure that your assets will be distributed to the intended heirs in a manner consistent with your wishes. According to a Gallup survey, over three-quarters of Americans over the age of 65 say they have a will. However, a well-drafted estate plan can encompass much more than that.
The process of preparing an estate plan can be complicated and confusing, so it’s important to seek legal counsel.
Creating an Estate Plan
Estate planning involves many legal and financial intricacies in order to ensure that your estate plan is enforceable and comprehensive. There is a wide range of considerations you should address before drafting an estate plan:
Identify your long-term goals. The first step is to identify your goals for your family and finances. People create estate plans for different purposes. For some, the primary purpose is to plan for their end-of-life medical care. For others, estate planning is a means to ensure that their assets go to the right beneficiaries.
Inventory your assets. You cannot create a comprehensive estate plan without having a complete list of your assets that need to be protected. No matter how wealthy you are, everything you own is considered your estate and must be accounted for when developing an estate plan.
Determine what you owe. It is equally important to make a list of all the debts that you currently have. Someone will still have to pay back your debts after your death, which is why you may have to consider which assets to sell in order to satisfy your debts.
Consider who you want to inherit your assets. When creating an estate plan, you can select who will inherit your assets so that your assets are distributed to the right beneficiaries according to your wishes.
Select a person you trust to make financial decisions on your behalf. If you become incapacitated, you will want to have someone you trust to handle financial decisions on your behalf.
Select a person you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf. When you no longer have the capacity to give informed consent or make medical decisions on your own, you need someone to make those decisions for you.
Create a plan to protect your business. If you have a business, you need to take care of business succession planning. In other words, you need to decide what should happen to your business in the event of your incapacity or death.
Each case is unique, which is why the things you need to consider before you start creating an estate plan may be different for you. Seek legal support from an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss your unique situation.
Seek Legal Support to Discuss
Your Estate Planning Needs
Estate planning is a complex process that involves many legal issues to address and documents to prepare. Consider scheduling a case review with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to guide you through the process and make sure that your wishes will be carried out.
The Law Office of Rodney Gould proudly serves clients in and around Los Angeles, California, as well as Sherman Oaks, Studio City, West Hollywood, and Beverly Hills.