The Estate Planning Process

Explained by a Fairfield County Estate Planning Lawyer

At Bayer & Black, P.C., we can walk you through each step of the estate planning process. This process can be extremely complex, so it is vital that you rely on the guidance of an experienced legal professional when preparing for the future of your estate. Any errors that occur in the planning process now can end up negatively impacting the value your assets and the wellbeing of your loved ones down the road. Our Fairfield County attorneys have provided an overview of the different steps that need to be taken when you are setting up an estate plan.

Important Steps in Estate Planning

1. Consult with an estate planning lawyer and assess your needs.

It can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to estate planning. A skilled attorney can help you determine which types of estate planning documents will meet your particular needs. Some of the various estate plan documents you can choose from include wills and trusts, powers of attorney and advance healthcare directives, among others. Each person's individual circumstances will dictate how his or her plan will need to be established. For example, certain clients might need to set up their estate plans differently in order to avoid heavy estate taxes in the future.

2. Determine who your beneficiaries and executor will be.

You will need to determine who you will leave your estate to, how much of the estate will go to each individual, and how these assets will be distributed. You will also need to designate an executor, or someone who will be in charge in the administration of your will after your passing. The same applies for choosing a trustee for the management of your trust. There are various other designations that you might need to make, such as who will have custody of any minor children you leave behind, who will be the beneficiaries of a trust that you establish, who will hold power of attorney rights on your behalf and so on.

3. Collect the necessary documentation and information.

Your lawyer can help you determine what types of documentation are needed to establish your estate plan and how you can obtain it. This might include copies of property deeds or property titles, bank account statements, documents related to large debts in your name, etc.

4. Sign the paperwork.

Once your lawyer has the final drafts of your estate planning documents prepared, you will need to sign those documents in order to finalize them. In the state of Connecticut, a will must be signed before at least two witnesses, and the witnesses must also sign the legal document. In some cases, it might even be in the estate owner's benefit to have the will notarized.

5. Go back and review your estate plan.

The reality of life is that things change. People get married or divorced, they have children, they acquire property, their financial situations change, etc. When major changes such as these occur in your life, you will likely want to update your estate plan. Even when you do not experience such changes, you will still want to go back and review your planning documents every now and then in order to make sure it remains relevant.

Call a Fairfield County Estate Planning & Probate Lawyer

Contact Bayer & Black, P.C. so we can help you get the estate planning process started. Our legal team leverages more than four decades of legal experience! Call (203) 614-9734 today to get started with a free case evaluation.