This is a continuation of my October column in the Medicine Hat News with my 6 steps to complete your estate plan. If you would like to review the first 3 steps, please find them here.
In my October column I suggested putting off your estate plan is even easier than putting off a fence repair. Fortunately, if you break down the completion of your estate plan into smaller tasks, it can be easier to start and complete. The first 3 steps involved 1) taking an inventory of your financial assets and family, 2) Meet with a lawyer to build your estate plan, and 3) determine your decision makers. The 3 remaining steps to complete your estate plan are the following:
If your estate plan is typical, you may leave everything to your spouse, and upon the death of your spouse, to your child or children equally. Provision is usually made for grandchildren in case a child predeceases you.
Some estate planning can be more complex if you are part a blended family through a second marriage. Some people want to leave an estate to children or grandchildren they are not related to biologically. Sometimes people want to leave out a child who is the “black sheep” of the family.
If your estate plan is more complicated, don’t panic. A lawyer can help you navigate those issues and find a solution that will help you reach your goals.
The lawyer will prepare the drafts of your documents and provide them to you to review. Our practice is to provide them to the client to review in advance of the signing meeting. There has been a departure from legal jargon in legal documents. You will not see “heretofore”, “executrix”, and other great scrabble words. While this makes the documents longer, they are easier to understand.
This is the time to answer any further questions and have your documents validated. Until they are signed, they are not valid.
I also strongly recommend people read about estate planning as they start the process. Our website has some great articles you can read or share. At last count we have 25 articles (and growing) on estate planning topics.
Many clients tell me how much better they feel once they have completed their estate plan. We would welcome the opportunity to assist you on your estate plan, but helping with the fence is another matter….