Preparing Your Estate Plan

Creating an estate plan requires the collection of a variety of different documents, including financial records, deeds, and documentation related to personal matters. For help drafting a new will, creating a trust, or otherwise preparing to plan your estate, please contact one of our experienced estate planning attorneys today.

Organizing Estate Planning Documents

Working with an estate planning attorney takes a significant amount of pressure off of testators, who can leave the details of creating an estate plan up to an experienced professional. However, it is still usually necessary for testators to provide their legal representatives with access to a number of different kinds of records, including:

  • Documentation listing the contact information of those who will need to be notified upon the testator’s death;
  • Contact information for financial advisors, including bankers, insurance agents, and CPAs;
  • Health, property, and disability insurance policies;
  • Tax returns;
  • Letters detailing who will receive specific personal belongings;
  • Information regarding a safe deposit key and box number;
  • A business succession plan;
  • Deeds for all real estate, including rental properties;
  • Birth, marriage, and divorce certificates;
  • Bank statements;
  • Beneficiary designations for annuities, life insurance, and retirement accounts;
  • Investment statements;
  • A net worth statement listing both liquid and illiquid assets;
  • Details about pensions, as well as Social Security and VA benefits;
  • Passwords for online access; and
  • Wishes regarding final arrangements.

For help collecting, drafting, and organizing your own records when preparing to create an estate plan, please contact an estate planning attorney who can advise you.

If You Have Already Planned Your Estate

Those who already have an estate plan are still encouraged to review any wills or trusts to ensure that all designations still represent their wishes. In some cases, a significant change in circumstances, such as the birth of a child, or a divorce could require a new or updated estate plan. It could even be the case that a testator had a change of heart about who should inherit his or her estate based on other circumstances, such as a personal dispute.

If You Don’t Have an Estate Plan

For those who do not have an estate plan, having certain documentation on hand can help catalyze the estate planning process, while also making it easier to:

  • Draft a will, which ensures that a person’s estate is distributed based not on the laws of the state, but on his or her wishes;
  • A revocable trust, which allows a person’s estate to bypass the probate process upon his or her death;
  • A living will, which details a person’s wishes regarding life-sustaining medical treatment in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated; or
  • A power of attorney, which appoints another person to step in and handle financial affairs if the designator is no longer able to do so.

If you are interested in addressing your own estate planning needs, please contact our legal team today.

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney

To discuss your own estate planning-related questions with a dedicated attorney, please contact Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd. Attorneys at Law at 847-325-5559. You can also reach a member of our legal team by sending an online message.

 

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