Estate planning is the ultimate act of “cleaning house,” and because it is such a huge undertaking is not uncommon for people to procrastinate before taking on the task. As understandable as this may be, when you go through life without an estate plan that includes an incapacity component you are placing yourself and your family at risk.
Any undertaking begins with a single step, and when it comes estate planning the first phase involves inventorying your assets and essentially identifying who’s going to get what, as it were. This is rather self-evident, but in addition you have to consider how you are going to deliver inheritances to each of your loved ones. It is not always as simple as dividing slices of the pie, and different individuals may have different proclivities that must be taken into account when you are engaged in inheritance planning.
For example, you may have some heirs who are well-established in their own right and you may feel totally confident leaving them an inheritance outright with no strings attached. Since they have demonstrated the ability to handle their own affairs successfully throughout their lives it is logical to expect them to be able to handle their inheritances appropriately as well.
On the other hand, you may have some family members who are spendthrifts, or others who may be too young to manage a large sum of money. Some people have family members who have personal issues, such as substance abuse problems. Providing for these loved ones may involve utilizing vehicles of asset transfer that have controls built in so that resources will be available to these heirs for the long haul.
Once you have an outline in place the next step is going to be to arrange for an initial consultation with an estate planning attorney. He or she will gain an understanding of your vision, make the appropriate recommendations, and ultimately make that vision a reality.