If you have finally taken the first step in creating an estate plan and made an appointment with an estate planning attorney, you are to be congratulated. Unfortunately, statistics tell us that as many as half of all Americans have yet to create an estate plan despite knowing how important one is.
One reason that people give for procrastinating is that they know very little about estate planning and therefore are not comfortable thinking about meeting with an attorney to create a plan. One way to alleviate your concerns about your first appointment is to consider some of the most important issues ahead of time by asking yourself the following questions:
- What are you worth? You probably have a pretty good idea what your net worth is; however, your estate plan requires you to know down to the penny what you own and what you owe. Spend some time making complete lists of both before your appointment.
- How much does your family depend on you financially? If you die or become incapacitated tomorrow, can your family survive without your income? Does your family need immediate access to your assets?
- Who can you trust? Throughout your estate plan, there will be numerous opportunities to appoint people into fiduciary roles. Not only should you trust the person you appoint, but some roles, such as that of trustee, require the appointee to have a considerable level of knowledge and experience in financial matters as well.
- Whom do you want to gift assets to upon your death? Again, you may have a basic idea of how you want your assets distributed, but your estate plan is the only chance you have to direct the fate of each and every one of your assets down to the baby spoon that has been in your family for five generations. Take the time ahead of time to give this question some serious thought.