Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Or do you just set goals? Many studies and surveys have shown that a majority of people intend to “get their legal affairs in order”, but a minority of them actually have done so. If one of your resolutions or goals for 2019 is to get your legal plans implemented to provide security for yourself and your loved ones, we can help you achieve that goal in 3 Easy Steps.
Step One: Gather
Gather the information about your assets, because those are the building blocks of your legal and financial foundation for the future. This includes the forms of ownership – whether you own your house, land, financial accounts, etc. by yourself or with other co-owners. We have made many recommendations to clients about simple ownership changes that later proved valuable, saving costs and providing security of those resources. To get started putting this information together, click on the following link - https://www.elderlawms.com/contact/forms/ - and download item 11 entitled “Financial Information Form” from the list of forms. This form gives you one place to list those assets. (And while this process will take some time, our clients routinely ask to keep a copy of the completed form in order to know all that they own.)
You should also gather together copies of all your current legal documents – deeds, wills, insurance policies, retirement plan agreements, pre-marital agreements. It is imperative that your planning attorney review these to make sure your plans accomplish your goals.
Step Two: Decide
You will need to make some decisions about who will be the beneficiaries of your plan, who will serve in what roles (executor, guardian, trustee, power of attorney agent). To make this easier, we provide the “Estate Planning Questionnaire” – item 10 on the Forms page at the link above. As you read through this form and answer questions asked there, you will be able to begin putting the right people in the right places at the rights times for your plan to be successful.
If you want a bit more education about the range of topics that will be part of your overall plan, you should download our “Estate Planning Highlights” booklet – item 9 on the Forms page. It will clarify some of those questions for you.
Step Three: Call
Once you have marshaled the financial information (or at least some of it), all you need to do is CALL our office – at 601-987-3000 – to set up a conference. In that conference, we can get the information we need to understand your personal goals and make recommendations about your legal planning steps, and you can ask any questions necessary to understand exactly what you should do. You will understand what each part of the plan will achieve for you, the cost of creating the documents and implementing them, and the benefits to you and your family of accomplishing this important goal.
When you have made these 3 simple steps and your plan is in place, you will move ahead in 2019 knowing that you have successfully accomplished the goal of protecting yourself and your family.