There is a misconception that an estate planning strategy is something the wealthy do later…
Estate planning is not a one-and-done kind of process. Just as your life continues to grow as you age, so too do your estate planning needs. Any lawyer who tells you that the matter involves no more than a few well-placed signatures on key documents is a lawyer who’s more interested in your money than your long-term well-being. An honest and experienced lawyer, on the other hand, will tell you that estate planning is a three-step process that runs the course of your life. For this reason, it is important that when choosing an estate planning attorney, you invest in a person amenable to change and dedicated to sticking with you from start to finish.
The Three Steps to Estate Planning
1. Getting Things Set Up
For many folks, this is all too often where estate planning begins and ends, and yet it is only the start of the process. Getting set up means taking stock of your assets, talking to your loved ones about your estate planning goals, and consulting an experienced attorney who can help you execute a plan that conforms to your needs.
Ideally, the first step in estate planning is taken gradually and developed over years. As soon as a person reaches the age of majority, they need to file advance directives. When a spouse or dependent enters the frame, a will becomes essential. As assets grow, a trust is a worthy consideration. And, naturally, the list goes on—which brings us to step two.
2. Ensuring Things Are Maintained
Change happens and hence, as long as you’re still living your estate plan is never truly complete. Any time a significant life event such as a marriage or re-marriage, divorce, the birth of a child or grandchild, loss of a loved one, or significant change in your asset base occurs, you need to consider making changes to your plan. Likewise, any time a new administration takes office or new legislation is introduced, your plan requires an update. Accordingly, when choosing an estate planning attorney, it is important you choose someone you look forward to working with for years to come.
3. Putting the Plan into Action
The final step in the estate planning process occurs when your plan activates either due to incapacitating injury or death. While you may not be around to partake in this step, it is nonetheless of direct concern as your nearest and dearest will be those who are most affected. Your chosen attorney, too, will likely have a hand to play as they will be the person most familiar with your plan. This is yet another reason to ensure you choose to work with a person you trust.
At the Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm, we prioritize client experience from the start of the process through to the very end. We offer a collaborative approach that includes client care programs and we always ensure your priorities sit at the center of the conversation.
Contact the Estate Planning Attorneys at the Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm