3 smart steps to take while preparing to make your estate plan

On Behalf of | Jul 14, 2023 | Estate Planning |

If there is just one step that people need to take when thinking about what happens after they die, it is committing to actually creating an estate plan. Frequently, adults procrastinate making this effort despite knowing how important estate planning is for their own peace of mind and the protection of their dependent family members.

When they do start planning, they may jump in spontaneously instead of preparing ahead of time. The best estate plans involve careful consideration and the creation of custom documents that reflect the unique needs of a New York testator. To get started, an individual can take the following steps before meeting with their estate planning attorney to draft the most effective estate plan possible.

Create an inventory of assets and obligations

Proper estate planning requires having an understanding of one’s financial circumstances. Identifying assets is crucial, as those not included in an estate plan could lead to conflict later or end up totally overlooked during state administration. Identifying and addressing debts can be equally important, as financial obligations take precedence over family inheritance rights in most cases. Therefore, someone needs to know what debts their estate will have to pay and also what assets they need to account for in their estate plans. Having a thorough breakdown of both assets and obligations in writing will make it easier to create a useful, protective plan.

Evaluate family relationships

Choosing who will inherit what assets can be exciting or stressful depending on someone’s circumstances. They will generally need to consider carefully who depends on them and then explore what resources those parties would need if they were to die unexpectedly. A minor child will require financial support and also the assistance of a guardian. A spouse may simply require planning that allows them to stay in the marital home until they die and the children can inherit the property. The best estate plans reflect the unique relationships that the testator has with others.

Think about the risk of incapacity

One common mistake people make when estate planning is that they only address what would happen when they die and not what might occur should they experience a medical emergency. New York estate plans can also include powers of attorney and advance directives that help protect someone from financial hardship or receiving the wrong medical care in an emergency where they cannot speak for themselves.

Once someone has reviewed what property they have, considered their family relationships and thought about their personal preferences regarding healthcare and financial management in the event of their incapacitation, they will be in the best and most informed position possible for the creation of a comprehensive estate plan. Preparing before one sits down to draft estate planning documents may reduce the risk of mistakes and oversights that could leave someone or the people that they love the most unprotected.