How do I get an estate plan … what is my part in all of this?
It seems like there is a lot to be done. So, how much of it do I need to do? I’m not sure I know how to do this.
I can tell you my approach.
Others may differ, but in over 20 years, I’ve arrived at what I think makes sense for you. And your part? Mostly talking with me and answering questions I am used to asking.
We’ll meet or get on the phone together and discuss:
1) What do your assets look like (home, retirement, stocks, life insurance, small business); and let me tell you a little secret: I do estate plans for real people, most folks don’t have millions of dollars – they have a house, some retirement and some life insurance, sometimes a small business; everyone needs a plan.
2) How would you like those assets used during your life (and for couples, the life of the surviving spouse among you) and who would you like to help you out if you need help in your later years? (Also, note the excellent worth in a Durable Power of Attorney document.)
3) Finally, What do you dream about those assets doing for your family after you are gone? What should be your legacy?
I’ve been doing this for a number of years. In about half an hour, we’ll have the basics of your estate plan.
Then you go back to what it is that you do, and I go to work, thinking through what you want your legacy to look like, and drafting that into the right documents. I may follow up with a few detailed questions or additional ideas that I think you might like. Finally, we’ll review and sign.
a) We’ll talk. Do not worry. I have lead a lot of these conversations, so you will not have to “carry the ball.”
b) I’ll think and draft. I work, while you go back to life and know that I am on it.
c) I’ll check back with you. I may need a few details, to confirm a preference, or just to ask “how does it look?”
d) You’ll sign. You will come in, since we usually need two witnesses and a notary public.
And that’s that. You can stop worrying, and you can know you have taken care of this important step for your own care and your family. (Yes, this is not something to neglect; think about your estate plan, and talk to your parents about their estate plan.)
I hope this is helpful to you.