More than 550,000 Americans have passed away as a result of COVID-19. The pandemic continues to take the lives of our family members and loved ones. While many people avoid discussing the painful subject of death, things can get complicated if a loved one dies without either a will in place. If you want your estate managed by someone you trust and who will have the best interest of your beneficiaries in mind, you should create a will. Fortunately, many tools exist to create your estate plans before you even speak to an estate planning attorney; the following are some of the first steps you should consider taking to make the estate planning process easier.
Collect the Appropriate Information
If you own a home, you will need to collect a copy of your deed and mortgage (if you have one). You should also gather a list of your assets and note whether they are owned jointly with anyone else. It is also a good idea to list any debts and taxes or amounts that your estate will be required to pay out. Some other details to gather include potential beneficiaries, minor children who might be impacted by your estate plan and funeral wishes.
Select a Suitable Storage Solution
The old method of storing all important information in a box under your bed has encountered various updates in the last two decades. Websites now exist where individuals can store and organize all important estate planning information including health care directives, wills, trusts, deeds, and power of attorney. Some of the document storage programs that you might consider include:
- Everplans is a comprehensive site that begins with a questionnaire. After completing an inventory, the site provides detailed instructions on what estate planning processes you should address first.
- The Torch does not request detailed information upfront. Instead, the site guides you through creating a profile, completing a checklist of documents you need to address what is missing, and creates notebooks for other critical considerations.
Decide What Questions to Ask Your Attorney
You should decide on some of the questions that will help you address your estate planning concerns and decide if an attorney is right for you. Some of the questions you might decide to ask include:
- How long has the attorney been practicing estate planning
- Whether the lawyer will engage in periodic reviews of your estate plan
- How long it will take to complete your estate plan
- Whether the attorney will send your drafts of estate planning documents for review
- Whether anyone else in the office will discuss your estate plan
- Whether the lawyer communicates in a clear and understandable way
- Whether you feel comfortable with the attorney
Contact an Estate Planning Lawyer
If you or a loved one has estate planning concerns, one of the best things that you can do is to contact a knowledgeable estate planning attorney. Contact attorney Jim A Lyon today to schedule a free case evaluation.