Estate Planning FAQs – Rickard & Associates

As estate planning attorneys, we have come across a variety of interesting circumstances, situations, and assets. However, we tend to get asked a lot of the same questions over and over. Find our answers to those frequently asked questions here.

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Some of our most frequently asked questions are the following:

  1. Do I really need a full estate plan? Many of our clients came to the initial meeting with the desire to get a simple will done, or healthcare and financial powers of attorney. While this might be the appropriate course of action for some clients, after speaking with the client and understanding their needs, we may advise them to go a different route and have a trust prepared. We also always recommend an individual have financial and healthcare powers of attorney, so that they are able to pick the person that makes decisions on their behalf, should they become incapacitated. We work closely with our clients to determine what other documents they need, given their situation, assets, and more. We help select a path forward that our clients are comfortable with and that represent their wishes.
  2. How do I know what type of guidance to put in my healthcare documents? Many of our clients don’t like to think about big healthcare decisions. We understand and offer guidance all the way through, so that the decisions don’t become overwhelming. We can help provide advice as to what should go in your Medical Durable Power of Attorney and even offer suggestions as to what type of person might be a person to select as a power of attorney for you, based on their characteristics and personality.
  3. How do I get my family to understand my wishes? There are many ways to help your family understand what your wishes are throughout the estate planning process. We often work closely with our clients’ selected trustees to ensure that they understand the process and the clients’ wishes. We also work with our clients to help them draft a Letter of Instruction, in which they can provide as much additional information, background, or detail regarding their choices. Some clients also wish to create Personal Property Memorandums to pass along sentimental property to certain family members, friends, or loved ones. We help our clients with drafting these memorandums and giving them the tools to update them on their own.
  4. Where should I keep my documents? We give our clients their documents and recommend that they keep them somewhere easily accessible – not in a safety deposit box. We also recommend that they tell their trustee where the documents are kept. Some clients choose to keep them in a home office or closet shelf.
  5. When do I need to update my estate plan? This depends. If you have any major changes, you should always update your estate plan. This includes when you get married or divorced; if someone in your estate plan either a spouse, trustee, or beneficiary dies or is no longer someone you want to hold a position or power; if you have children; if you move or change jobs; etc. There are many reasons to update your plan. Otherwise, when we meet with you, we will recommend a time frame to come back and revisit your documents to ensure that they are still an adequate representation of your wishes.

If you have any additional questions about estate planning, or would like to consult an estate planning professional, please contact us today. We can make sure you have a comprehensive plan that is tailored to your unique needs and goals.

Contact us today to help you get the right documents in place or to update your current estate plan. We will plan so that you don’t have to worry about your future.

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