On September 25, 2015

Estate planning is not just about figuring out what will happen to your assets after you pass. It’s also about setting up protections for you and your loved ones. In fact, a comprehensive, effective estate plan can save a significant amount of stress, grief and money in the future.

So, as you get started developing an estate plan, think about the basics below. Then, contact us for help taking the next steps to formalize your plan so that you can achieve your estate planning goals.

Estate Planning 101: How to Start Crafting Your Estate Plan

1 – Figure out your goals.

Getting ready to start estate planning? Here are the basics you need to know, a Denver estate planning attorney explains. Contact us when you are ready to take the next steps.

Getting ready to start estate planning? Here are the basics you need to know, a Denver estate planning attorney explains. Contact us when you are ready to take the next steps.

Do you have minor children you want to make sure are protected in the future? Or do you have loved ones with special needs? Maybe, instead, you are more concerned about helping your loved ones minimize their future probate obligations?

Whatever your goals may be for your estate plan, pinpointing them upfront is a good move because it can help you figure out the additional features you may need to put in place, aside from some of the basics.

2 – Then focus on your will.

A will is fundamental to estate planning and is typically the best place to start officially putting down your plans and wishes for future.

Here, we want to point out that, although wills are central to estate planning basics, your will does not have to be basic (or too complicated). In other words, your will can be as detailed or simple as you would like. The key here is to understand what steps need to be taken to authorize your will and ensure that it is legally binding moving forward.

3 – Next, develop powers of attorney and other features you may need.

Another essential component of an estate plan is the power of attorney, which – like wills – can be customized to be as detailed, broad and/or limited as you need and want. When it comes to powers of attorney, it’s generally advised that people set up a:

  • Medical power of attorney, which will focus on making healthcare decisions on your behalf when you are not able to do so
  • Financial power of attorney, which will revolve around making your financial decisions in the event you can’t.

Not having powers of attorney can lead to the court appointing someone to make these decisions on your behalf in the event of an accident or incapacitation – and this can compromise people’s interest and/or welfare when someone they would not have chosen ends up with this power/authority.

Additionally, at this stage, figure out whether you need to develop trusts or additional estate planning features. This is where an experienced attorney can be extremely helpful in preventing you from overlook anything.

4 – Make a plan for revisiting and updating your estate plan periodically.

Once you are satisfied that you have a comprehensive estate plan in place, make sure you set up a schedule for reviewing the plan and updating it as needed. A lot of people make the mistake of not updating their wills and entire estate planning periodically, and this can lead them to not have the protections in place they believe they may have – especially if or when major life changes occur.

Denver Estate Planning Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

For experienced help developing a thoughtful, comprehensive estate plan, contact a Denver estate planning attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC. Call us at (303) 741-2400 or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Estate Planning