I am thinking about Estate Planning for myself, but I am not really sure what I should be thinking about. What would you recommend that I do to get started? What information should I have available?
I think it's important to remember that when you hire an attorney to help you with estate planning, you don't need to have all the answers upfront. Estate planning is a process, and your attorney will help guide you to ensure you have an effective and efficient plan. Here's the list of questions I would ask you to think about as we would start working together:
- Who do you consider to be your family? Are all of these people related to you by blood, or are some unrelated but closer to you than your blood family members?
- Are there persons you want to ensure has no benefit from your estate?
- Are there any persons you wish to benefit that may be receiving aid/assistance (or you are worried about if they received a large sum of money they could not manage or would harm themselves (i.e., have gambling, alcohol, or drug dependence issues)?
- Are there any minor children you would like to include as a beneficiary?
- Are there any charitable causes you would like to advance as part of your estate plan?
I also think that it is a good idea to make sure that you gather a current contact list for anyone that you think that you may want to include (or exclude if they are a blood family member).
Next, I would ask you to think about your assets, and you would need to gather up bank statements, titles, and vehicle registrations so that the attorney can work with you on the most cost-effective way of transferring your assets upon your death. Do I have any loans, mortgages, or other indebtedness associated with these assets that the estate planning attorney needs to be aware of so that assets are protected during the administration?
Finally, who are the people in my life that I trust to act in my best interest? Your attorney will want to understand who these people are in developing your testamentary instruments and the appropriate documents that would allow someone else to manage your affairs if you're unable.
If you can at least start thinking about these questions, you're in a good place to start the conversation with an estate planning attorney to develop your estate plan.
Ask a Question
If you have a general question that you would like answered by a Florida Estate Planning and Administration Attorney, please use the contact form to send Shawn a question. As long as it is general (and not too specific to your unique situation), Shawn will answer these questions in the form of a Frequently Asked Question to help you but also help others in our community.
Shawn can not offer legal advice in this format. He can only provide general information that you may find helpful. You should call an attorney and seek legal advice if you need specific legal advice.
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Law Office of Shawn C. Newman, P.A.
710 Northeast 26th Street
Wilton Manors, FL 33305-1238
Phone: (954) 563-9160
Serving all of the greater Fort Lauderdale area and Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties in Southern Florida.