John and Jillian, both in their 30s, were going on vacation. They were leaving behind Heather – their five-year old daughter – for the first time.
Suddenly they realized that they had no will, guardian, or trust set up for their daughter. They needed to do something immediately.
Key #7 to estate planning success requires that you take action. Use what you have learned in my six previous estate planning posts.
Taking action involves these three simple steps:
Step 1. Get Professional Guidance
Prepare a list of concerns that you need to address with a lawyer:
- How to save income tax
- What to do for minor children
- How do you provide for beneficiaries
Lawyers should be able to help clarify your choice for:
- attorneys for property & personal care
- choosing the right estate executors
- guide you in naming guardians for your minor children
- identify your legal and moral obligations towards beneficiaries
Doing a little homework now will save you time and money. Consider reading my ebook Estate to the Heart, the fastest and easiest guide to estate planning.
Step 2. Find a referral for an Estate Lawyer
Ask friends, accountants, and other lawyers for referrals. Search law firm websites to find lawyers with estate experience.
Interview the lawyers that you’re considering. You may do this by e-mail, telephone, or in person. Inquire about the lawyer’s qualifications, working arrangements, and availability for an appointment within seven to ten days.
Bring your background documents (e.g., separation or shareholder agreements) to the appointment, with a list of your questions.
Confirm with your lawyer when draft estate planning documents will be prepared. Be sure to review documents before your appointment to sign.
Confirm how your follow-up questions will be dealt with, either by a further meeting or by telephone conversations.
Step 3. Sign Your Estate Planning Documents
Sign your documents and arrange for proper storage of all original signed documents. Advise those involved where documents can be found.
All of the above steps can be completed within two to four weeks from start to finish.
What Does It Cost to Create an Estate Plan?
Legal fees will depend on:
- the experience of your legal advisors
- the complexity of your circumstances
- the fees charged in your local area
You should be able to find a capable lawyer in most price ranges.
You have learned the 7 Keys to estate planning success.
To your estate planning success,
See my related blog posts and free guide:
Edward Olkovich (BA, LLB, TEP, C.S.) is a nationally recognized author and estate expert. He is a Toronto estate lawyer and Certified Specialist in Estates and Trusts. Edward has practiced law since 1978 and has authored seven books. Visit his website, mrwills.com, for more free valuable information.
© Edward Olkovich 2012