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Things to Consider Before You Start Your Estate Plan 

Steven L. Rotenberg, PLLC Nov. 15, 2022

Senior Couple Review Estate Plan DocumentIf you are reading this, chances are you are considering creating an estate plan. However, everyone’s circumstances are different, which is why what works for one person may not work for another. So, how do you create a plan that perfectly matches your needs and goals?  

That is the question only a skilled attorney can answer after assessing your unique situation. Steven L. Rotenberg, an experienced estate planning attorney in Bingham Farms, Michigan, can explain the things you need to consider before you start your estate plan. He can take the guesswork out of estate planning and help you create a plan tailored to your specific circumstances. Steven L. Rotenberg, PLLC serves clients throughout the metro Detroit area, including Pontiac, Monroe, and Mount Clemens.  

What to Know Before You Draft an Estate Plan  

As someone who begins to think about drafting an estate plan, you may wonder, “What should I know before I start an estate plan?” Even if you choose to hire an estate planning attorney to help with your plan, you should still know what is involved in this process.  

Here are some steps you can take as you prepare to draft an estate plan: 

  • Take inventory of everything you own. Before you make any decisions regarding who should inherit what, take the time to list everything you own, from real property and vehicles to bank accounts, retirement accounts, stocks, annuities, and even jewelry, clothing, and household furnishings.  

  • Define your goals. When drafting an estate plan, you should always focus on your goals and needs. For many people, there may be multiple goals. For example, a person may want to protect their assets, avoid probate, and plan for incapacity (all at once) when creating an estate plan.  

  • List your debts. While it is critical to take inventory of your assets, it is equally important to list your debts. Understanding how much you owe to creditors will give you a good understanding of where you stand financially. Keep in mind that all of your debts will have to be paid in full before your assets are distributed to your heirs after your death.  

  • Consider who will be your beneficiaries. One of the most challenging and emotionally-taxing aspects of estate planning is deciding who should inherit what. Take plenty of time to consider who will be your beneficiaries and how your assets will be distributed to them.  

  • Make arrangements for guardianship. If you have minor children, you may need to make arrangements for guardianship in the event something happens to you before your kids reach the age of majority (18). Designating a guardian will give you peace of mind knowing that your children will be taken care of.  

  • Make arrangements for your pets. Pets are our family, which is why it is not surprising that so many people make arrangements for their pets when drafting an estate plan.  

  • Protect your business. If you have a business, you probably want to preserve it and make sure that your business will be in the right hands if something happens to you. If this is your goal, you will need to pay attention to business succession planning when creating a plan.  

  • Understand taxes and their effect on your estate. Reducing or eliminating taxes is one of the most common reasons people turn to estate planning. If this is something you are interested in, you may want to contact a skilled attorney to help you understand the potential impact of taxes on your estate and explore ways to reduce or eliminate taxes.  

These are not the only things to know before you start your estate plan. Consider speaking with an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss your unique situation and get the legal guidance you need.  

Legal Guidance You Can Trust  

Even if you think that you have considered everything you need to create a perfect estate plan, estate planning should not be undertaken without the guidance and advice of an experienced attorney. Steven L. Rotenberg can help you with all aspects of estate planning to ensure that you create the estate plan that best fits your current situation. Contact Steven L. Rotenberg, PLLC to schedule a consultation and discuss your unique case.