There are many factors to consider when drafting an estate plan, including the federal and state laws that oversee these financial tools. Although there are complexities involved, the first step to develop a solid estate plan is easy: finding a skilled estate planning attorney to navigate you through the process.
At Kamper Estrada, our estate planning attorneys have been assisting clients for decades in making the plans that will help ensure their families will be taken care of in the event they become incapacitated or die. Contact our office today to set up a free consultation with a member of our legal team.
There are certain things you should prepare before you meet with an estate attorney. It is important to know exactly what your assets are. It will be helpful for your attorney if you put together all statements from any financial accounts you have, including retirement accounts, stocks, and bonds. You will also want to gather all deeds and titles to any property and vehicles you own.
In addition to the obvious assets, you will want to also make an inventory of the other property you have. This includes any collections, including digital collections such as downloaded music, films, or photos. You should also list all jewelry, furniture, household items, and any other items of value you own.
You will need to decide who will inherit these items when drafting your will. Sometimes it can be helpful to obtain appraisals of items in order to ensure that you are dividing your estate up in the way you want. It can be helpful to also make a list of all the people you would like to leave money and/or other property to. Knowing ahead of time how you want your estate divided can be helpful and cut down on the time and costs of developing your estate plan.
Seeing an Estate Planning Attorney
Once you have all of your documentation ready, schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney from Kamper Estrada. Your attorney will be well versed in the different tax laws and how those laws could affect your estate.
In addition to drafting a will, your attorney may also explain to you what some of your other options are for setting up an estate plan that could help your heir avoid the probate process and ensure that no one would be able to contest your wishes. This can be done by setting up a trust. The property or asset that you want your loved one to inherit is placed in the trust. If you set it up as a living or revocable trust, you remain in control of the property and can change or revoke the trust at any time. Upon your death, the contents of the trust become the property of the person you chose as a beneficiary. There is no probate process the trust must go through.
Instead, ownership is immediate, giving you peace of mind that your loved one will have access to funds to take care of their needs when you are no longer here. With a will, there is a mandatory probate process which can take up to a year or more to resolve. Your loved one will not have access to those funds until the probate process is resolved, which can often cause financial hardship for the family.