Estate Planning in 5 Steps
If 2020 has taught us something, 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, we will outline an actionable plan to use when developing an estate plan specific to your circumstances.
5 Steps to a Great Estate Plan
1. Call A Knowledgeable Attorney
When planning your estate it is highly recommended to consult a knowledgeable estate attorney. Starting your journey with an experienced attorney is what sets your plan up for success. Your initial consultation will be a discussion about your assets, family situation, and next steps in establishing your plan.
2. Think About Your Assets
For many couples, the most significant asset they have is their property and/or retirement accounts – the most popular are 401k and Roth IRA. But there is a catalog of assets people may have that should also be considered. This can include vehicles, boats, cash, household furniture, or other security/investment accounts that may not be a retirement-saving vehicle. It’s important to view your assets not only by your net worth but also by the different categories of assets.
3. Know Your Family Dynamic
In estate planning, It’s important to consider your family dynamic. A married couple will have different planning options than a single individual with no children. Additionally, planning options will be different for married couples with children in common versus a blended family with children from previous marriages. The considerations for a family such as this will be quite different than those for what would be considered a more traditional family.
4. Consider Your Fiduciaries
What is your relationship with your fiduciaries or planned executors? Who will you designate to carry out your wishes? You can designate someone as a patient advocate to make healthcare decisions for you. You can also designate a Durable Power of Attorney, which allows that person to make decisions for your legal/property matters.
Keep in mind these are two completely different skill sets: Healthcare vs. Financial and Property decisions. When thinking of someone to serve in these roles, choose someone you are confident can operate in that role. Your financial designate will need to be fiscally responsible, organized, and is able can keep an accurate count. On the other hand, your patient-advocate should know your wishes, be compassionate, and be able to stick up for your wishes.
5. Who Will Be Your Trustee or Executor?
The last relationship to consider is who you want to be the executor of your estate, trustee of your trust, or personal representative in the event of a probate estate. This individual will – after your passing – ensure that your wishes are followed in terms of property transition 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 | Fausone Bohn, LLP
Use these 5 Steps in 2021 to decide how you want to engage in this process. We highly recommend beginning early in the year while you are still able to meet by phone, in-person, or by Zoom. Want to start planning your estate? Call Brandon Grysko at Fausone Bohn, LLP, he can be reached by email or phone at (248) 380-0000.