The better you plan, the richer you’ll be. As anyone who’s familiar with estate planning knows, it can be hard if you don’t know what you’re doing.
1. Evaluate Your Options
The more options you have in life, the better. In the digital age, you can choose from an abundance of DIY sites online to help you plan your estate. Companies have even begun collaborating with these sites to assist their employees or customers.
Turn to LawDepot, Nolo, RocketLawyer, LegalZoom, FreeWill, or Turbo Wills for all of your DIY estate-planning needs. These sites are great for childless newly-weds, single young people, and those with a simple family structure. They might not be the best choice for those with considerable assets or complicated family structures.
2. Do Your Research
If you choose to go the DIY route, then you need to exhaustively research online providers. Read their reviews on Better Business Bureau and Yelp. Ask those who have used the providers about their experiences, and consult colleagues, friends, and lawyers in the industry.
That brings us to our next point: estate planning attorney.
You’ll need them if you don’t use a DIY site. In that case, ask your local bar association or friends and family about this probate attorney and others. Conduct your own research too, about your lawyer and firm’s credentials.
3. The Traditional Estate Planning Process Has Changed
Times have changed, and so has estate planning.
With coronavirus restrictions seeing no signs of easing up, it’s tougher to meet in-person with an estate-planning lawyer than it was pre-quarantine. If you are lucky enough to secure a meeting with such a lawyer, it might be over Zoom or FaceTime.
If you want to sign documents, that’ll be harder too because of state-mandated witness and notary requirements. Fortunately, some states have implemented remote notarization.
4. Plan Carefully
In a time of heightened reflection on your mortality, it may be tempting to rush the estate-planning process. Don’t rush the process; trust the process. Rushing it makes you more prone to severe errors, such as setting up a living trust without funding it.
Don’t let your nerves get the best of you. That’s even more likely if you try to plan a complex estate all by yourself.
5. Updates Are Allowed
Estate-planning can take many forms. There are beneficiary designations to be made, wills to be written, sometimes Liquidation of Home Estates has to come first, and in some cases trusts must be set up. There are also Advance Health Care Directive decisions to be made.
You can update these and other aspects of your estate plan as frequently as you want, whenever you want.
Harvesting Money Trees
“Money trees is (sic) the perfect place for shade,” as Kendrick Lamar once said. The coronavirus and its associated economic damage have made Americans the most aware of their personal finances since perhaps the Great Recession of 2008.
Before you do any estate planning, listen to the tips above. Failing to plan means planning to fail. Make a plan with an estate planning attorney while using all the time and resources at your disposal to do so. For additional estate planning information and resources visit CunninghamLegal.
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