Planning the Future of Your Estate
Have you planned for the future? Regardless of your financial situation, you should have an estate plan in place. Thorough estate plans address the following questions:
- What will happen to your possessions?
- Who will receive them?
- What will they receive?
- When will they receive them?
- If you have children who are under the age of 18, who will take care of them?
- Who will make financial and medical decisions on your behalf when you are no longer capable?
If you do not have a documented answer for these three questions, you need an estate planning attorney. If you do have an estate plan, has it been updated recently? There are many reasons to update your estate plan. Your situation and wishes may change over time, requiring changes to these documents. Tax laws are also constantly changing and may require adjustments in order to take full advantage of them. And you should always revisit your plan after going through a big life change, such as a divorce or a new business venture.
Help your family by taking the guesswork out of your estate’s future. If you want control over what happens to your assets, and if you want to preserve the majority of your wealth for your heirs, contact the Iowa estate planning attorneys at Day Rettig Martin, P.C. for a consultation.
Who needs estate planning?
Many people mistakenly think that, because they do not have much wealth, they do not need an estate plan. This is not true.
The truth is that everyone needs estate planning.
There are many different tools that can be used to create an estate plan. For some, a will is a sufficient tool. For others, a trust is the better option. For most, it is necessary to also designate powers of attorney for health care and for your financial affairs. You may also choose to delineate your funeral preparations at the time of drafting these documents. If you are facing significant federal estate taxes, you may need a family limited partnership. If you have partial ownership of a business, you may need a buy-sell agreement.
It is also important to think about potential care you may need down the road when you can no longer care for yourself. We can help you to plan for long-term and/or nursing home care for either you or your aging loved ones. Long-term care is wildly expensive and can quickly drain a life’s savings. It takes careful planning by a legal professional to make sure that such expenses do not wipe out an entire estate, leaving nothing or very little to your heirs.
What to Bring When You Meet with Your Attorney
In order to get the most out of your initial meeting with your estate planning attorney, it is helpful to have a good idea of your priorities. For some, providing for charities is very important to them. For some, avoiding probate is one of their main priorities. Others may be focused solely on providing for their children or spouse. We recommend you discuss your specific estate planning goals with your spouse and/or family before meeting with an attorney.
However, do not worry if you are having difficulties identifying your priorities. We can help with that; simply starting the discussion beforehand will help. The most important thing you can do in preparation is to make a list of your current assets and liabilities. Write down things such as cash assets valued at over $1,000, real estate, stocks, bonds, automobiles, house furnishings, retirement accounts and other employee benefits, etc. While doing so, also consider who will receive these assets and when they will receive them. By doing these things ahead of time, your consultation with your attorney will be much more efficient and productive.
Contact the Estate Planning Attorneys at Day Rettig Martin, P.C.
Although there are many do-it-yourself tools out there, the estate planning process should not be handled on your own. The Internet offers up much information, but only an experienced attorney, like the ones at Day Rettig Martin, P.C., can separate out the facts in answer to your most pressing questions. For instance, most people are concerned with avoiding probate. Our attorneys can explain everything there is to know about the probate process. We will walk you through it from A to Z and advise you as to the best course of action for your specific situation and priorities.