Your life is unique, as should be your estate plan. There is no single template or form that works for everyone. This is why a DIY plan using online resources can lead to unwanted results. A skilled estate planning attorney reviews all aspects of your life and creates a custom plan that perfectly matches your needs. Among the things that make your estate plan unique are family relationships, characteristics of heirs, amounts and types of assets, your retirement needs, and state laws.
1 – Family Relationships
The first consideration is your family structure. Are you married? Do you have children or grandchildren? Do you have children from a previous marriage? Are your parents still living? Do you have siblings? What is your relationship with various members of your family? Who among your relatives do you wish to bequeath assets in the case of your death? These are all important questions to answer.
2 – Characteristics of Heirs
In addition to the number and types of heirs, the characteristics of those heirs are also key. The approach for young heirs is certainly different than that for adult heirs. Likewise, heirs that need specialized care due to a disability require a well thought out approach as well. There are also personalities and capabilities to consider. Do some heirs have more maturity, ability to earn wages, responsibilities, or duties than others?
3 – Amount and Types of Assets
Among the other important things that make your estate plan unique are your assets. There are many types of assets such as savings accounts, investment portfolios, business interests, retirement accounts, homes, land, digital and other physical assets. The rules on handling each asset can depend on the entities involved, state laws, federal laws, etc. Some assets even require special arrangements in advance to protect the rights of heirs later on. The types and combinations of your assets will be unique to you and must therefore be reviewed by your Estate Planning Attorney to properly address each of them.
4 – Retirement Needs
We’ve always said that estate planning and retirement planning go hand-in-hand. How you save for retirement and your needs in retirement can significantly impact the remaining assets passed down to your heirs. Thus, a good estate plan includes a review of your personal retirement plan as well.
5 – State Laws
Lastly, it’s worth noting that laws vary from state-to-state. When moving from one state to another, it is critical that you have a local attorney review and update your plan so that it remains valid. Additionally, you’ll want to take into account local estate tax thresholds and adjust your estate plan to minimize tax burdens and thereby maximize the remaining estate value.
Summary of Things that Make Your Estate Plan Unique
As you can see, there are many things that make your estate plan unique. The above are just a few examples. There can be many more circumstances that affect your plan, such as a family owned businesses or prior/future inheritances. The number of factors are truly limitless.
To protect your valuable assets and to accomplish your unique estate planning goals, schedule a consultation with our team. We take the time to evaluate your needs and to create a truly personalized plan for you. We also maintain an ongoing relationship, as your trusted advisor, to update your plan as your life and the world around you changes. Contact us today to get started.