What are your goals with your estate plan?
Hi, it’s Guy DiMartino. I’m in Northwest Indiana estate planning and probate lawyer. Today I’d like to talk a little bit about, when you’re getting together with a lawyer regarding your estate plan, probably the biggest thing that you need to think about and discuss is what is your purpose in wanting to create an estate plan?
Do you have kids that you’re going to try to protect and provide for their needs? And if you have kids, the next question is, do you want to be able to give them money outright or do you want to be able to trickle money out to them?
Do you want to protect the money that you’re going to give to your kids from spouses, from remarriage, from debt collectors; potential creditors or predators? Is your purpose to make the process of distributing your assets to your loved ones easy after you pass away? If so, if you do the work and planning when you are alive, your goal can be accomplished. For most people, the last thing that they want is the family broken apart because something in their estate plan is unclear.
Maybe you have a child, grandchild, or a spouse that has a special need? Is the goal in your estate planning to be able to provide for your loved one’s special needs without the side effect of them losing governmental assistance?
Are you trying to protect yourself and your family from a nursing home taking everything that you worked for during your life? Or are you concerned about the state coming in and taking your house after you pass away if you have been placed in a nursing home? Or do you have a disability or somebody in your family who’s disabled, and you want to put money into a trust to protect and provide for your disabled son, daughter, spouse, grandchild, or anyone else?
Is it your only goal to avoid the probate process?
The point is that there is no one estate plan. An estate plan has to put together based on your goals. A person who wants to protect a special needs child or grandchild will have a much different plan than a person who just wants to avoid the probate process. The decision is all about your values and goals.
Once you have these goals sorted out, you can sit down with your probate lawyer or your estate planning lawyer and go through the process and thinking about these things and try to find the best way to structure your estate plan to meet your goals.
Meeting your goals is the most important thing. It’s not a one stop shop. We have to determine what your goals are and then put together a plan so that we can help you meet these goals.