Young, Yes, But Not Immortal
Kate and Brian Thompson1 thought they had plenty of time to draw up an estate plan. But then Kate's mother died unexpectedly, and that rang a bell. Maybe they weren't immortal after all. Here are the five steps you should take to get your own plan in place.
- Pick a planner. Word-of-mouth references are a good place to start, but you can also rely on expert referrals from the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.
- Put a team together. Your estate planning attorney can advise you about contacting a tax expert, an accountant and someone who can give you advice about charitable giving.
- Compile documents. Ask your lawyer what you'll need to bring to the first meeting. This could include detailed information about insurance policies, retirement accounts and your stock portfolio.
- Ask for guidance. When you meet with members of your team, describe your goals and ask about the best way to reach them.
- Cover all the bases. Drafting a will is an obvious outcome from an estate planning exercise, but don't stop there. You'll also want a durable power of attorney, a living will and a health care power of attorney. Also consider trusts for your children, your charity and even yourself.
1Although this article is based on a real-life example, names have been changed to protect privacy.
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The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, please consult an attorney. Figures cited in examples are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to estate and income taxes apply to federal taxes only. State income/estate taxes or state law may impact your results.