Individuals may want to hire an attorney for assistance with estate planning, as well as other professionals, such as a tax advisor or a financial planner. People should catalog all their assets and how much they’re worth. This should include both physical assets, such as real estate, as well as more intangible belongings, such as savings accounts. If they have dependents, individuals should also consider what their family’s needs might be. For example, they may want to purchase life insurance that covers several years of annual income plus the cost of college for any children. A will can be used to appoint guardians for minor children.
For some people, a will may be sufficient for transferring their assets to their beneficiaries. An executor manages this process. For others, it might be useful to have one or more trusts. Unlike a will, a trust does not have to go through the probate process. Other documents people may want to consider are a living will, which contains a person’s end-of-life care preferences, and powers of attorney that appoint people to manage health care and financial matters.
It can be helpful for a person to talk to an attorney about their assets, goals, and any concerns or potential family conflicts. With this information, a lawyer might be able to suggest the best estate planning solutions. For example, if a person is concerned about leaving a large inheritance to an irresponsible family member, a trust could be created that ties distributions to certain milestones or leaves the decision about when to make distributions in the hands of the trustee.