When you hear the term “estate planning” it’s easy to get intimidated. You don’t know what you’ve done in the past. You don’t
know what to do in the future.
Fortunately, with the right approach, this isn’t something that has to turn you into a ball of anxiety. Instead, you can make a few key decisions that will work in your favor.
Above all else, you need to understand what estate planning is all about. Furthermore, you need to understand how to make decisions that will benefit you and your family.
To start, here’s a basic definition of estate planning:
“Estate planning is the preservation and the distribution of your assets, both during your life and upon your death. It is accomplishing your personal and family goals and easing the management of your financial and legal affairs, as well as minimizing taxes if your estate is large enough for taxes to be of concern. When we talk about an estate, we mean all assets of any value that you own, including real property, business interests, investments, insurance proceeds, personal property and even your personal effects. An “estate plan,” generally, refers to the means by which your estate is passed on to your loved ones on your death.”
But even if you understand estate planning and what it entails, it doesn’t mean that you’re able to make all the right decisions on your own. Instead, there could come a time when you require the assistance of an estate planning attorney.
If you live in Indianapolis or the surrounding area, we are more than happy to answer your questions and provide you with guidance. Regardless of who you are, we want you to know one thing: it’s important to ask your attorney a variety of questions, as this will help you better understand your options and what you should be doing.
Here are some of the most important questions to ask:
What type of estate planning tools are available to somebody in my position?
This is a great question, as it gives you a better idea of what you can do to improve your situation. In short, some of the most common types of tools include:
- Last will and testament
- Revocable Living Trust and Irrevocable Trust
- Lifetime gifting
- Beneficiary designations
- Joint ownership
It’s safe to assume that some of these tools won’t do much for somebody in your shoes. However, you’re likely to find one or more that’s right for you. All it takes is some collaboration with an experienced attorney in order to get on track.
What are some of the top problems associated with estate planning?
When you discuss what could go wrong with your attorney, it’s much easier to implement a plan that allows you to avoid such issues.
For example, you may soon realize that some people don’t have an estate plan. This is a major problem for many reasons, including the fact that you could be putting your loved ones in a bad position.
There are many other issues associated with estate planning, such as not understanding the probate process.
Let your attorney review all these potential issues with you. From there, develop a strategy to help you avoid trouble in the future.
What’s the best approach for somebody in my position?
In short, you want to know that you are making decisions that can benefit you and your loved ones. If you don’t know the first thing about estate planning, it’s a good idea to let your attorney be your guide.
You have to make the final decision in regards to what your estate plan entails, but there is nothing wrong with letting a legal professional show you the way.
It makes good sense to consult with an Indianapolis estate planning attorney on a regular basis. This may not be something you consider to be fun, but it’ll go a long way in putting your mind at ease.
If you have any questions about estate planning, call our office at 317-684-1100, or if you need to get in touch with an experienced law firm, we hope that you’ll attend one of our free seminars.
At these events, we discuss all the finer details associated with estate planning. Sign up to learn more!
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.