Working with an experienced estate planning attorney is the best way to ensure that your estate plan accomplishes all your goals and that it works as intended. Your attorney will provide you with advice and guidance during the creation of your estate plan; however, there are also things you can do to help your estate planning attorney to increase the overall success of your plan. Toward that end, a Carmel estate planning attorney at Frank & Kraft explains what you can do to help your estate planning attorney.
- Listen to – and act on — advice. When an attorney gives a client excellent advice, and the client fails to listen and/or act on that advice it amounts to a waste of time and money for both parties. If you have an issue with your attorney’s advice speak up and discuss your issue; however, do not just ignore the advice.
- Full disclosure. Many of the issues that must be discussed in an estate plan are highly sensitive and extremely personal. Your estate planning attorney understands and respects this; however, your attorney cannot fully protect you and your interests if you fail to disclose all the necessary facts and information. Keep in mind that anything you tell your attorney will remain confidential because your attorney is ethically bound to keep it confidential.
- Organize and update records. Estate planning typically involves detailed financial records and important ownership documents. Keeping those records organized and updated helps your attorney keep your estate plan organized and up to date.
- Choose fiduciaries wisely. Your estate planning attorney will likely end up working with one, or more, of your fiduciaries at some point. Your Executor, for example, may retain your attorney to help probate your estate. Choosing the right person for the position, preferably with the assistance of your estate planning attorney, will help everyone involved.
- Consider sharing the details of your plan with loved ones. If anything in your plan is likely to be controversial, or to cause conflict, consider sharing those details with loved ones now. Doing so will make everyone’s life much easier down the road.
- Do not hide things from your attorney. Keep in mind that your estate planning attorney cannot protect you unless he/she knows everything. Keeping assets hidden in an effort to protect them, for example, may be tempting; however, it could be a huge mistake. Your attorney may be able to legally protect those assets, but you won’t know that if you keep the existence of the assets hidden from your attorney.
- Create a lasting relationship with your attorney. Estate planning is a highly personal endeavor, and a lifelong one as well. The better your relationship is with your estate planning attorney, the better your wishes and needs are likely to be reflected accurately in your estate plan. Sticking with one estate planning attorney throughout your lifetime, therefore, only makes sense.
- Schedule routine reviews. Your estate plan is not something that you create and then forget about from that point forward. On the contrary, an estate plan should be reviewed and revised on a regular basis. Prior to reaching retirement age, a good rule of thumb is to schedule a routine review every three to five years.
- Update immediately when necessary. Although a routine review is important, it can be even more important to recognize when an immediate update may be necessary because of a life event. If you decide to get divorced, for example, you should not wait until your next routine review to make changes to your estate plan. Likewise, if you decide to change something in your estate plan, don’t put off discussing the change with your attorney because life can be unpredictable.
Contact a Carmel Estate Planning Attorney
For more information, please join us for a FREE upcoming seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about estate planning, contact an experienced Carmel estate planning attorney at Frank & Kraft by calling (317) 684-1100 to schedule an appointment.