At Tilchin & Hall, P.C. we are happy to be your trusted estate planning experts. Carefully planning your estate is an essential task for you and your family. Today we would love to share why estate planning is so important and we want to provide a list of pertinent information needed to get started.
One of the primary reasons to create an estate plan is so you can determine who gets your assets when you die. By naming who will receive your assets upon your death, be it a summer house, stock portfolio, or that wristwatch that has been in your family for generations, without an estate plan, those assets will be distributed in accordance with the rules of intestate succession. That means the court, not you, will determine who gets what after you die.
An estate plan is also essential to protect your minor children. If your children are left parentless, you want to ensure that they are cared for financially and in a manner which you approve. Deciding who will care for your minor children and how, if both parents die before your children turn 18, is a difficult decision to make. If you do not name the guardians prior to your death, the first person that shows up in probate court asking to be the guardian might be the person that the court appoints. That person may be someone you do not want to get the job.
Estate planning can also assist in eliminating family disagreements. If you die and have several adult living children, or if one of your children dies before you do and they have children, this can lead to a mess unless you have an estate plan in place. One child may think they deserve more than another. One child may think that they should oversee the finances even though they are notorious for racking up debt. One child might think that they get everything, and your grandchild gets nothing because their mother (your child) died before you. While we cannot guarantee there will not be a family fight, in many instances estate planning can help stop family fights before they even start.
We can also help you make estate plans for special circumstances, such as planning for a child with health problems/disabilities or setting up a trust for someone who might be better off not receiving a large lump sum of money. It can also help you give more to the child who did most of the work of caring for you in your later years or less to the one whose long education you funded while paying far less for their siblings.
Long story short, estate planning puts you in control!
To get started here is a list of essential documents that we will need you to bring to your initial meeting with us:
- Any current estate planning documents that may have already been set-up, such as Wills, Trusts, and Powers of Attorney (If you do not have any, no worries, this only applies to those who do.)
- Your most recent income tax statements
- Any deeds to property currently owned
- Brokerage Account statements or Business Agreements
- Current Life Insurance Policies & Annuities
- Written list of questions or concerns
- Prenuptial or Marital Agreements
- Contact Info for your trusted advisors: Attorney, CPA, Insurance professionals, Financial Advisors.
- List of your estate planning goals
- A preliminary list of those you with to name in positions of authority: Trusties, Guardians, Executors or Power of Attorneys.
At Tilchin & Hall, P.C. we have decades of experience helping families peacefully and equitable settling their estates. Set up your consultation today by sending us a message below or call (248) 349-6203 with any questions!
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