Estate Planning Steps

An estate planning attorney knows that it is important to follow all state and federal laws when you are drawing up your estate plans. That is why it can be helpful to retain the services of the best estate planning attorney in O’Fallon MO. Our legal team has been assisting clients with all of their estate planning needs for years and would be happy to meet and discuss what the best strategies may be for you to achieve your estate planning goals.

The best way to create an effective estate plan is to follow certain steps to make sure that you have addressed all areas, avoiding any potential conflicts among heirs once you have passed. Your estate planning attorney can go over what those steps are but the following is a general overview.

Make an Inventory

Many people think only of the assets they have in the bank and the real estate they own as the items that need to be addressed in their estate plans. But there are many other items of value that you may own that need to also be considered. The best way to determine what you have is to make a list of all of these items. This list should include all financial accounts, vehicles, and real estate. You should also make a list of any collections, jewelry, family heirlooms, furniture, household items and personal property you own. You also need to remember any digital assets you have.

Decide Who Gets What

Once you have a made a list of everything you own, you will have a much clearer picture of what type of decisions you need to make about how all these items should be distributed. It is much better for family harmony to predetermine these decisions rather than letting your heirs have to make the decisions when you are gone. By having it all in writing in a legally-recognized and solid estate plan, it also avoids the risk of someone contesting this distribution after you have passed.

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney

Although there is no law that says you need to have an attorney draw up your estate plan, the truth is that having an experienced estate planning attorney who is well-versed in estate and tax laws can ensure that there are no legal errors in the plans that can cause the court to invalidate them. Your attorney can also offer suggestions and advice on different options you may have that can reduce tax obligations and avoid probate. Your attorney can also determine what type of documents you will need to cover any and all needs you have. For example, if you have minor children, your attorney can add information regarding who you want to be the guardian of your children and how any financial accounts for your children should be handled.

Thank you the authors at Legacy Law Center for providing their insight on estate planning.