Estate planning is a specialized field requiring the knowledge and skill of a professional. As such, one of the most important steps you can take in the estate planning process is choosing the right legal advice from a proper estate planning attorney. When choosing an attorney, it is imperative that you do your research. Credentials, testimonials/reviews, and personal recommendations are all important. Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A.estate planning lawyer has excellent ratings in all of the above categories, and we would be happy to assist you with your estate planning goals.

Prepare for Your Estate Planning Consultation:

Itemize Your Assets

You must know your financial situation in order to protect it from the probate process. Take an inventory of your assets and compile a list. Make sure to include identifying information for the assets, such as bank account numbers, financial statements, policy numbers, real estate descriptions, legal documents, etc. Items you should think about include:

  • Your home and its valuable contents (e.g., antiques, electronic equipment, collections of art, jewelry, etc.)
  • Your vehicles and boats
  • Financial Assets – IRA, 401K, bank and brokerage accounts, annuities, insurance policies, stocks, and bonds. Sometimes, once people start digging, they come across an account or asset they had forgotten about.

Although not an asset, it is important to itemize your debts as well. Items you should think about include:

  • Mortgages
  • Lines of credit
  • Credit card debt
  • Auto and other loans

In addition to this, please compile a list of questions you may have for your estate planning attorney.

Itemize a List of Organizations to Which You Belong

Think about the groups in which you belong or are interested in belonging. Some examples include VA, charitable organizations, religious groups, professional associations, college alumni groups, and political groups. These groups may offer services that you are unaware of or may be organizations you want to include in your estate plan as a beneficiary.

Think About Who You Want To Be Your Beneficiaries and Executor

Who do you want to inherit your estate when you pass away? Is it an individual or a charity? If a person, who would be the backup beneficiary if the primary person predeceased you? Do you have accounts that already have designated beneficiaries or POD/TOD?

You will also want to think about who your Successor Trustee/Executor will be. Will you include a backup if the first person listed predeceases you? Additionally, who would be the appropriate person to designate as your healthcare surrogate and/or durable power of attorney agent? Who do you want to make long-term care decisions, medical decisions, and financial decisions for you if you become incapacitated? You will want to consider reliability, trustworthiness, and dependability when deciding on the person to nominate for these positions.

Our team can help prepare the necessary estate planning documents to meet all of your needs, including but not limited to the desire to avoid probate, an incapacitation plan, a contingent trust plan for young children, and a special needs plan for yourself and loved ones.

It is important to start thinking about a solid estate plan now. The earlier you start thinking about these topics, the less overwhelming it will be when it is time to make decisions. When the time comes to schedule your estate planning session consultation, contact The Law Offices of Amy B Van Fossen, P.A. in Brevard County, FL. We are here to help guide you through the process, step by step. It is not your job to think about all the “what-ifs” – let us do that for you. We pride ourselves on being well-trained, detail-oriented, and comforting during the estate planning process. Our goal is to make sure you and your family are cared for and satisfied.

 

This article was originally published in August 2021 but has been updated for accuracy and freshness.