Step 1. Client Education
The first step in any estate planning project is educating the client. This is typically done during the initial (often free) consultation, but some planners may conduct the initial education in a seminar. Expect that the estate planning attorney will ask you to bring a completed questionnaire to your initial consultation. The questionnaires are usually designed to elicit responses to help guide the attorney in providing the most relevant education to the client. Expect that the attorney will cover at a minimum wills and trusts, documents needed in planning for disability/incapacitation, and probate.
Step 2. Counseling and Design
Sometimes the estate planning issues are such that the attorney can recommend a strategy and gather the information needed to design your plan within the first meeting. Often times with more complex situations, another meeting will be necessary solely for the counseling and design of your estate plan
Step 3. Review and Execution
After your estate planning attorney has counseled on the issues and collected the necessary information she’ll be able to produce the documents that reflect your plan. Some attorneys will send you the documents ahead of time for you to review, others may have you review the documents in their offices before executing. Regardless, at the end of this meeting you will have a plan in place. However, especially if you are using a revocable living trust to direct where your property goes after you die, your documents are only as good as the steps you take to fund your estate plan.
Step 4. Funding
Funding an estate plan is the process of changing title or beneficiary designation of your assets to be directed in accordance with your plan. This may be as simple as changing the payable on death designation of your bank account, or it may involve changing the title of your assets into your living trust. Some lawyers may provide general instructions on how to fund your plan. Others may actually offer funding services.
Step 5. Maintaining your Plan
It would be impossible for any estate plan to contemplate all possible contingencies in your life. You may win the lottery, suffer a disability in your family, or the laws may change affecting your tax liability. Plans are usually drafted for the immediate future with the most common contingencies addressed. To make sure your plan reflects your planning goals at the time the plan is called to action, it’s important to revisit your plan periodically. Some estate planning law firms have formal programs for this, others may reach out to you periodically as a means to remind you, however many may leave the updating to you.
Brady Cobin Law Group PLLC Can Update Your Estate Plan
Your estate planning attorney can ensure that you have the right language in your documents to protect and preserve digital assets. At Brady Cobin Law Group, PLLC, we would be happy to review your estate plan or create a new plan to meet your needs for the immediate and distant future. Contact us today to get started.