Where to Start When You Want to Protect Your Assets and Loved Ones

What is going to happen to your loved ones after you are no longer here to provide for them and protect them? Will they actually be able to benefit from the life savings you built up for their benefit? Will your minor children be properly cared for? These are questions that need to be considered when you are planning for the future. There are many people who know they want to set up a plan that will properly protect their assets and loved ones, but they often have no idea where to start.

The first thing you will want to do is to consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer who can help you figure out what estate planning strategies you and your family can benefit from and then assist with you each step of putting those plans into place. Estate law is highly complex and is constantly changing, so you could do yourself and your family a great disservice by failing to seek out the right legal counsel. For example, a simple oversight in the drafting of your will could potentially result in excessive taxation or probate litigation, which could cause a great amount of hardship to the loved ones you leave behind.

Wills and trusts are a good starting point when it comes to estate planning, considering that they cover the basics of how your estate will be divided and distributed after you pass away. You should, however, also consider other options that are included in more comprehensive estate plans. These include healthcare proxies, powers of attorney, documents for special needs planning, etc. Here are a few of the various steps that you should take when you are getting ready to establish your estate plan:

  1. Make a list of all your of assets and their values, as well as the debts you owe. Gather documents related to these assets and debts, such as financial statements and property deeds.
  2. Write down who you want your beneficiaries to be (such as family members, friends and charitable organizations). You should also think about any special instructions you have for distributing assets to these beneficiaries, such as when a child receives his or her inheritance over set periods time rather than all at once.
  3. Decide who should oversee your will or trust. This person will be known as an executor or a trustee.
  4. Think about special last wishes you might want to include in your will, such as burial instructions or your wishes concerning the guardianship of minor children or other dependents.
  5. Think about who should make decisions on your behalf should you ever become unable to do so for yourself.
  6. Consider any special instructions for end-of-life medical care.

If you take these steps, you will be on much stronger footing once you begin collaborating with your estate planning attorney. My name is Dave Flanagan, and I am a Quincy estate planning lawyer who is ready to guide you through each step of the planning process. It is my goal to help you take advantage of the estate planning solutions that will best meet the needs of you and your family. Contact Flanagan & Associates today for skillful legal support!