Things to Consider Before You Start Your Estate Plan
May 12, 2023
Whether you have a small or large estate, establishing an estate plan is crucial to provide detailed instructions about how to settle your estate and final affairs upon your death or sudden incapacitation. However, there are some important considerations to address before you start creating your estate plan. This preparation allows you to define your estate planning goals and draft a comprehensive plan that best fits your unique needs.
At Felling & Reid, LLC, we're dedicated to offering personalized attention and reliable guidance to clients in the legal matters of estate planning. Our trusted Oregon estate planning attorneys can enlighten you about the benefits of having an estate plan and some vital considerations before drafting your plan. We proudly serve clients in Albany, Oregon, and surrounding areas throughout Benton, Polk, Linn, Marion, and Lincoln counties.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning involves creating a detailed and strategic plan that leaves specific instructions regarding how your property, assets, and funds should be managed, distributed to inheritors, or disposed of after your death or sudden incapacity. Some useful estate planning tools and documents include wills, living trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives, life insurance, and beneficiary designations.
According to the 2023 Wills and Estate Planning Study by Caring.com, only about 34.1% of adults in the U.S. have a will or estate plan. Essentially, establishing a well-detailed estate plan allows you to protect your family, preserve your assets, prepare for life's uncertainties, and make adequate provisions for your surviving loved ones. By ensuring that you don't die intestate, an estate plan paves the way for your family and helps prevent or mitigate possible disputes and conflicts during probate and estate administration.
What Should I Consider Before I Draft an Estate Plan?
If you are thinking about creating an estate plan, here are some important considerations before you start:
Identify Your Goals: Identify and define your primary reasons, goals, or purposes for making the estate plan. Outline some of the things you would like to achieve upon creating your plan.
Make a List of Property and Assets: Make a detailed inventory of all your property, assets, money, personal belongings, bank accounts, businesses, interests, and investments that you would like to include in your estate plan.
Identify Beneficiaries: Identify the family members, dependents, close relatives and other loved ones that you intend to name as beneficiaries of your estate. After your death, the named beneficiaries will receive your property and assets.
Consider Healthcare Decisions: Consider your preferred medical procedures and treatments to include in your advanced care directive. Also, think about someone who can help make your medical-related decisions when you're unavailable or unable to. (It is also good to have a back up.)
Consider Financial and Legal Matters: Consider who you would like to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. You can use a power of attorney to name an agent or attorney-in-fact to make property, financial, legal, and tax-related decisions for you when you're unavailable or unable to do so.
Identify Liabilities and Debts: Create a list of all your liabilities and debts. Also, outline a strategic plan to pay back these debts and settle up with all creditors.
Determine Asset Distribution: Consider how you want your property and assets to be distributed to your heirs and beneficiaries when you're gone. Determine the family members that should receive certain personal belongings, heirlooms, and assets.
Consider Making Donations: Decide whether you intend to give gifts or make donations to schools, churches, non-profits, and other charitable organizations with your property and assets.
Plan for Minors and Pets: Decide whether you want to leave property, assets, and funds or make special provisions for some family members, close relatives, and dependents. These include minors, incapacitated adults, pets, and other family members with special needs.
Consider Business Succession Planning: If you own a business, you need to consider creating a business succession plan. This will help ensure the seamless transition of your business and its assets. Also, you can identify and groom new leaders to take over your role if you retire, become incapacitated, or pass away.
Consider Disposition of Remains: Lastly, consider your final arrangements and how you want your remains to be disposed of when you’re no more. You can provide detailed instructions about your exact wishes regarding burial and funeral arrangements.
If you or a loved one wants to draft an estate plan, you need to get in touch with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can enlighten you about your available estate planning options and help you make intelligent decisions.
Seek Trusted Guidance From Felling & Reid, LLC
Establishing an estate plan is crucial to preserve your assets and secure your legacy. However, before you start drafting your plan, there are various things you need to consider or put in place to ensure that you're making the right choices. At Felling & Reid, LLC, our attorneys are dedicated to advising and guiding clients through the complexities of estate planning.
In addition, we will describe the various estate planning options and determine the right plan that fits your specific needs and preferences. Our attorney will help you draft your vital estate planning documents, craft a strategic plan to protect your accumulated wealth, and help you work towards achieving your estate planning goals.
Contact us at Felling & Reid, LLC today to schedule a simple consultation with a trusted estate planning lawyer. Our reliable legal team can work intelligently to address your various concerns and help you make informed decisions when creating your estate plan. We proudly serve clients in Albany, Oregon, and surrounding areas throughout Benton, Polk, Linn, Marion, and Lincoln counties.