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Estate Planning in 5 Steps

If 2020 taught us anything, it would be to "prepare for anything", because before you know it, life can change in a snap. So, if you're an individual that has pushed off your end-of-life arrangements, we encourage you to stick around! In this article, Estate Planning Attorney Brandon Grysko will outline a 5-step actionable plan for you to take when developing an estate plan.

1. Call A Knowledgeable Attorney

This first step may seem like an obvious one, but we assure you it is equally important. When developing your estate plan, consult with a knowledgeable attorney. Starting off your journey with the support of an experienced estate planning attorney is what will set your plan up for success in the long run.

If you call Brandon Grysko at Fausone Bohn, LLP, we can provide you with a free consultation. In this consultation, we discuss your assets, family situation, and what the potential next steps will be in establishing your estate plan.

2. Think About Your Assets

For many couples, the most significant asset they may have is their property and retirement accounts - the most popular ones are 401k and Roth IRA. But there is a catalog of assets people may have that should also be considered. This may include vehicles, boats, cash, household furnishings, or other security/investment accounts that may not be a retirement savings-type vehicle.

As you begin the estate plan process, it's important to look at your assets not only from the perspective of your net worth but also the different categories of assets you may have.

3. Understand Your Family Dynamic

It's important to consider what your family dynamic is when developing an appropriate estate plan. A married couple will have different planning options than a single individual with no children.

Additionally, planning options will be different for a married couple with children in common versus a blended family with children from previous marriages. The planning considerations for a blended family such as this will be quite different than the considerations for what would be considered as a more traditional family.

4. Consider Your Fiduciaries

Next thing to keep in mind, what is your relationship with your fiduciaries or planned executors? What we mean is, who will you designate to carry out your wishes if you either die or are unable to handle your property and health care matters?

For example, you can designate someone as a patient-advocate who makes health care-related decisions for you if you become incapacitated. You can also designate an agent or attorney to operate under a Durable Power of Attorney, which will allow them to make decisions related to your legal or property matters.

Keep in mind these are two completely different skill sets: Healthcare decisions vs. Financial/Property decisions. When you are thinking of someone that will serve in these roles, choose someone you are confident can operate in that role.

Someone designated to make financial decisions will need to be financially responsible, organized, and you are confident they can keep an accurate count if called to do so. On the other hand, your patient-advocate should know what your end-of-life wishes are, have compassion, and the ability to stick up for your wishes when dealing with healthcare personnel - Doctors, nurses, etc.

5. Who Will Be Your Executor/Trustee?

The last relationship to consider is who you want to be the executor of your estate, trustee of your trust, or personal representative of your estate in the event you have a probate estate.

This individual will, after your passing, ensure that your wishes are followed in terms of how your property transitions and who it transitions to. Again, this is an individual that you feel confident will follow your wishes as outlined in the document.

Michigan Estate Planning Attorneys | Fausone Bohn, LLP

These are some steps you can take in 2021 to decide how to engage in this planning process. We highly recommend beginning this process early in the year while you are competent and available to meet either by phone, in-person or by remote technology like Zoom.

If you want to begin forming your estate plan, give Brandon Grysko a call at Fausone Bohn, LLP, and receive a Free Claim Evaluation to discuss your planning goals and objectives. Brandon can be reached by email or by phone at (248) 380-0000.

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