Becoming a Client
Understanding the Three P’s of Estate Planning
When you have made the important decision to create an estate plan, careful thought and decision making needs to be completed in order to have a productive consultation with the attorney. Here is a good starting point for you:
#1 – PEOPLE
Who are the Important People in your life? Beginning with yourself, they also likely include your loved ones: your spouse if you are married, children and grandchildren if you have any, perhaps your parents, siblings, other relatives or perhaps a significant other. Beyond these “Important People”, you might also include charities, special causes, colleges or universities, or churches to which you are committed. For some, “Important People” could even include pets. Please spend some time thinking about the impact others have had on your life. Make a list and jot notes if you like. This is where the planning process truly begins.
#2 – PROPERTY
By Property, we mean your assets in general. Make a list of the assets you own or control. At this point, you do not need to identify insurance policy numbers and exact dollar values. Rather think through your assets in terms of their nature (cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.); their value in thousands of dollars; and your ownership interest: Do you own assets in your name only, in joint tenancy with someone else, or through a trust agreement or some other arrangement? Be sure to include often-overlooked assets like life insurance (the death benefit, not the cash value), business interests, and any inheritance you may expect to receive.
#3 – PLANS
After identifying the Important People in your life and your Property, the next step is to consider the plans you want to make for those People (including yourself) and your Property in the event of your own incapacity or death.
Who would you name to make decisions for you if you could no longer do so yourself? Would the same person handle your finances and your personal and health care decisions? Who would care for your minor children? How would you distribute your assets to your heirs? Would you prefer to spare your heirs the potential cost and hassles of the probate process? Would you like to minimize the impact of estate taxes or maximize the impact of a charitable bequest? Is there someone in your family with special needs for whom you would like to provide? Is there someone who perhaps should not receive a great deal of (or any) money without some outside oversight?
These are just a few of the issues to consider when approaching the planning process. They are much more important than the “treasure hunt” for legal documents at this stage.
When You Are Ready
When you are ready to have documents created, schedule a consultation by calling the office at 636-425-2926. If you need some questions answered first, you can schedule a phone call with one of our attorneys by clicking here- Book A Call.