When you start planning your estate, it is a good idea to ask yourself a few questions that will help you clarify your thinking.
If you have never engaged in the estate planning process, then getting started can seem somewhat overwhelming. There are many decisions you need to make concerning how your assets will be distributed.
Hiring a good estate planning attorney is essential to getting a good plan. The attorney can help guide you into making good decisions.
However, you do not need to wait until you see the attorney for the first time before making some key decisions.
Asking yourself the right questions can get you started.
Market Watch offered some suggestions in "Giving your money away when you die: 10 questions to ask," including:
- Do you have more than enough money to meet your own needs? This will help you figure out whether you want to start a “gifting” plan to shrink the size of your estate.
- If you cannot make your own medical decisions at the end of your life, who would you like to make them? This will help you make sure you get an appropriate person named on a health care power of attorney.
- Will the federal estate tax be an issue for your estate? If you are not a multi-millionaire, you will not need to worry about the tax.
- Does your state have its own estate or inheritance tax? While most states have abolished their estate taxes, a few still have them. Therefore, it is important to know whether your estate could be affected by your state's taxes.
- Have you investigated any charities that you want to support? If you plan to leave some money in your estate plan to charity, it is important to make sure the charities you choose are reputable.
Reference: Market Watch (Oct. 29, 2017) "Giving your money away when you die: 10 questions to ask."