- Who are your natural heirs?
- Which of your natural heirs do you want to share in the wealth you have created?
- How do you want your heirs to share in your estate?
- Do you want to determine how that wealth transfer should occur?
- Do you want the state to determine how your wealth is distributed at your death?
- How do you want to provide care for a surviving spouse?
- How do you want to provide for your surviving children, grand children, or step-children?
- Do your children need a trustee to manage and protect their wealth?
- Do you have a “special needs” child, or other persons in your life, who need continuing financial assistance from you, or need someone to make life decisions for them?
- Who do you want to act as your personal representative to settle your final worldly affairs?
- Do you want to minimize federal and state death taxes?
- Do you have business or professional interests that require specialized planning to protect?
- Do you want to appoint someone to make medical decisions for you when you lack decisional capacity?
- Do you want to leave instructions concerning the withdrawal or continuation of life sustaining medical procedures when you have a terminal condition, or are in a persistent vegetative state, and are unable to communicate your desires?
- Do you want to leave instructions concerning CPR and other life saving medical procedures?
- Do you want to avoid or minimize “probate?”
- Do you want to provide a home, a financial legacy, or a trust for the on-going care of your pet?
- Do you have a life partner you want to include in medical decisions for you?
- Do you want to leave certain property to particular people?
- Do you want to leave property or a part of your wealth to a charity?
- Do you want to be an organ donor?
- Do you want to leave instructions concerning the disposition of your body and memorial services?
- How should “joint tenancy” property assets be titled to most effectively achieve your goals?
- Who do you want to designate as beneficiary of other “payable on death” assets?
- How should your creditors be taken care of at your death?
- What effect do you want “community property” laws of other states to have on your estate?
- How do you want to coordinate Medicare, Medicaid, and other government benefits?
For a lot of people, these questions are overwhelming and are often ignored. For many people, thoughts of death, incapacity, or similar matters evoke unpleasant feelings, and they suppress, or ignore the issues raised by the above mentioned end of life decisions.
No doubt, there is a lot to consider. And, most important, it takes time, effort, and money to properly plan your estate.
I can tell you that people who complete a deliberate process of estate planning, walk away from the process with great peace of mind, knowing that they have faced the issues, made the difficult decisions, and left a written legacy that will bring about for their loved ones that which is in their hearts.
If that is important to you—peace of mind—at this time in your life, give me a call.