The first estate planning step it to stop procrastinating.
Whether you have a lot of assets or just a few, you have an estate.
You have made careful choices to protect your money and your family throughout your life.
Do not leave your legacy to chance by failing to plan for your potential incapacity and certain (eventual) death.
According to the (Dodge City, KS) High Plains Journal article titled “Estate planning is for everyone,” failing to plan will cost your estate more money and bring unnecessary stress upon your family.
Once you have decided to start estate planning, what should you do?
It may not be a pleasant conversation, but it is essential.
You need to get over the awkwardness and talk openly.
Anything you discuss or disclose is 110% confidential.
Assess your estate.
Before you plan where your stuff goes, you need to know what you have.
Think Stephen Covey: Begin with the end in mind.
Your goals will not be the same as your neighbor's.
Your circumstances will influence your goals.
If you get a promotion, they will change.
If you get married or divorces, they will change.
If you have children, they will change.
You will need to reevaluate your goals and your standing in reaching them at least every few years.
Work with professionals.
Do-it-yourself estate planning is a disaster.
You will want to find an experienced estate planning attorney who knows the nuances or your state and the federal laws.
He or she will also be able to work with you to create a plan specific to your needs and explain how it accomplishes your goals.
Find the best options.
Estate plans are not cookie cutter projects.
There may be a number of ways to accomplish what you want.
Some ways are better than others.
Some ways are less expensive than others, too.
It is invaluable to have an experienced estate planning attorney walk you through the options.
Once you have a set plan, implement it.
The best planning involves action.
Review and modify.
As noted earlier, life brings changes.
These changes could be personal or changes in laws.
Any changes will likely affect your plan.
What can you do?
Review your estate plan with your estate planning attorney.
And make the necessary changes.
So, how do you find an "experienced" estate planning attorney?
First, ask around. Friends, family and other professional advisors are trustworthy sources.
Second, conduct an "organic" search on "Google" for "estate planning" near you (e.g., "Estate Planning Anytown MoKan").
Third, either way, verify! Check out the education, experience, ratings and client reviews of any attorney before you contact him or her.
In fact, I use both of these services to thoroughly vett attorneys before referring members of our "client" family for legal help in other areas of law or for matters in jurisdictions outside Kansas or Missouri.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: The (Dodge City, KS) High Plains Journal (January 30, 2017) “Estate planning is for everyone”