Five Steps to a Rock Solid Estate Plan

Estate planning should not be something that you second guess yourself on. Instead, you should walk away knowing that your financial and medical future is secured, and that your loved ones will be taken care of if something were to happen to you. In order to have such a feeling, you need to have a solid estate plan. This not only requires the assistance of an estate planning attorney – but it also requires you to prepare for your consultation, and gather all information needed so that an impeccable estate plan can be created to suit your needs. The following is a list of five general steps to take in ensuring that your estate plan will meet your current and future needs.

1. Get an Estate Planning Attorney

The first and most important step in creating a solid estate plan is hiring an estate planning professional. After all, you wouldn’t make a medical decision without your doctor’s advice, so why plan your future without the assistance of professional legal advice? Every step of the estate planning process is critical – from start to finish. A single mistake could have serious, negative consequences for your loved ones and your own health. Before you start officially planning anything, contact a trustworthy attorney.

2. Know What You Need

With the assistance of your attorney, take your time and go over some options. Discuss what might need to be included in your estate plan. Is a will or a trust better suited for your needs? What items do you want to pass on, or what will be sold? Do you have properties that you wish to pass on to a spouse or family member? Perhaps you have a retirement account that you want to give to a beneficiary? All of these items need to be discussed in detail with your lawyer.

3. Gather Necessary Information

You cannot create a solid estate plan without the right information at hand. Estate planning is a technical process that hinges on even the most minute details. If you miss information while planning, you could devalue your business or accidentally leave a retirement account out of the fold. Your attorney will tell you what information to gather. It is in your best interest to heed such advice.

4. Put Everything in Writing

Even minor details should be specified within your estate plan. The wording in this document must be just so – otherwise, errors could be discovered after your passing and invalidate certain items that you specified in your estate plan. The best choice is to have an attorney draft your estate plan to ensure that there are no inaccuracies.

5. Update Frequently

Your estate plan is not something that you create and leave. Instead, it is something that you constantly update, as your needs and overall estate change. If you have a child, you need to update your estate plan. If you divorce, your plan must be updated. You should sit down and review your estate plan annually, or at least bi-annually, with your attorney. Then, any time you have a significant life change (e.g., divorce, death in the family, child, major purchase, etc.), you should also update it with your attorney.

Speak with a Long Island Estate Planning Attorney Today

If you are ready to create a solid estate plan, you need an attorney who understands New York estate planning laws and requirements. Contact the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. today. Schedule your free consultation at 516-605-0625 or fill out our online contact form with your questions.

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