Beginning Your Estate Plan: Knowing What You Have & What You Want

Your estate planning journey doesn’t begin when you meet with an attorney. It begins when you ask yourself two simple questions: What do I have? What do I want to achieve? Your estate plan can only be put in place when you are able to answer those questions for yourself. So, let’s break it down.

What do I have?

Take an inventory. Your belongings, investments, and property should all be accounted for. An important part of your estate plan will be determining to whom these items are distributed and it is important to not leave anything out.

For most people it is relatively simple for a person to decide who will receive the bulk of their estate; usually a spouse, children, or a close friend. While it may be a no-brainer for your estate to be divided between your children, but certain items may mean more to one child than the rest. Your daughter may have had her eye on your grandmother’s quilt or necklace. By taking the time to inventory your belongings, you can properly designate specific items for specific people.

What do I want?

Ask yourself difficult questions. When you meet with an estate planning attorney, he or she is going to ask you questions that most people don’t want to think about. Most people want to avoid talking or even thinking about incapacity or death, but there is no avoiding the issue. It is important to be prepared with answers that are well thought out and reflect your wishes. You’ll need to know what you want to happen to your estate, what your medical wishes are, and who you trust to carry out these requests. These decisions may be difficult to make, but considering all your options ahead of time can bring a sense of clarity and peace of mind.

Where to start...

Your estate planning attorney can help walk you through the difficult task of putting your wishes into practice. Knowing what you have and what you want to achieve is just the first step in creating an estate plan that will save you and our family from undue heartache. Steciuch Law is a flat-fee estate planning firm that can help by providing a free, no-obligation meeting to discuss your estate plan.