Contrary to popular belief, Estate Planning involves much more than having a lawyer draft a Trust or a Will. Estate Planning is an ongoing process. Your estate plan should be periodically reviewed so that it accurately reflects changes to your family structure (i.e., marriage, divorce, adoption, etc.), changes to your assets (acquiring new assets, selling off existing assets, etc.), changes to how your assets are to be distributed after your death, and changes in probate and other laws pertaining to the distribution of your assets. It is important to notify your lawyer anytime you experience one of the above-listed changes. While the distribution of your assets upon your death is an important part of your estate plan, effectively planning your estate involves much more than that. Issues that Dale A. Arens frequently takes into consideration while planning your estate or drafting a Trust as part of your Estate Plan include the following:
- Develop a plan to minimize estate tax liability and avoid probate as much as possible, as well as preserve and increase the value of your estate enabling you to pass as much of your wealth as possible on to your intended heirs.
- Planning what medical treatment you will receive if you ever become incapacitated to the point that you are unable to communicate your wishes, as well as determining the medical facility which will provide the care and naming the person who will communicate your wishes to physicians and other medical staff.
- Determining who will handle your financial, personal, business and legal affairs if you ever become incapacitated, as well as how your affairs will be dealt with.
- Directing how children and/or other loved ones will be provided for, in the event you are no longer able to provide for them due to your incapacitation or death.
- Drafting and periodically updating your final arrangements document to express your death and burial preferences, as well as setting up a trust fund and/or pre-need plan to pay for them (saving your loved ones from the anguish of having to make these decisions in a bereaved state while financially burdened with the expenses involved).
- Administration of your estate after your death.
The above are a few of the many issues that are taken into consideration when you have a Trust or an Estate Plan prepared. Dale A. Arens will help you navigate through the complicated area of Estate Planning and provide you with timely, cost-efficient Estate Planning solutions.