Estate Planning 101: First Steps
The general slowdown that has resulted from the COVID-19 global pandemic may provide you with some extra time to put your affairs in order. While the estate planning process may seem daunting, getting started is straightforward.
The first step in your estate planning process should be to spend some time self-assessing your personal family and financial situation. Some questions for you (and your spouse and family) to consider may be:
- Who do you need to provide for after you pass?
- How should decisions concerning your finances and healthcare be made in the event of your incapacity?
- Do you have any specific wishes for funeral or burial arrangements?
- What are your assets and how are they titled?
- Do you have any existing estate planning documents that need to be revised due to changes in your family situation?
- Who has access to your important documents, including information about your assets and any existing estate planning documents?
A questionnaire, like the one attached here, can be a useful tool to help you start thinking about your preferences and aggregating the information that your estate planning attorney will need to assist you with the estate planning process. After completing this questionnaire or a similar tool, you should meet with your estate planning attorney (or contact an estate planning attorney, if you are not currently represented) to discuss the next step: the preparation of your estate planning documents.