When you think of the word “estate,” you most likely think of your own home. You may be surprised to know that the word is much more encompassing in a court of law. In this blog, Appleby Healy Law Firm defines an estate, explains how estate planning consultations work and gives you helpful tips on how you can start the estate planning process. Read on to learn more!
The Legal Definition Of An Estate
When the word “estate” is used in the context of an estate plan, the word refers not only to a home but to an individual’s cumulative assets. If you own anything, from monetary assets to real estate and personal belongings, you have an estate. According to the American Bar Association, estate planning is:
“A process by which an individual designs a strategy and executes a will, trust agreement, or other documents to provide for the administration of his or her assets upon his or her incapacity or death. Tax and liquidity planning are part of this process.”
What To Know About Estate Planning
So, now that we know what an estate is, what is an estate plan? An estate plan is a collection of documents that instructs the courts on what your wishes were regarding your assets prior to your passing or you becoming incapacitated.
These documents include but are not limited to:
- A will, or a trust that is a declaration of your intentions for your assets.
- A healthcare power of attorney, which is a document that states who would make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to make them.
- A financial power of an attorney, a document that names the individual who you would want to look after your finances if you were to become incapacitated.
The process of creating and updating an estate plan can be complex. That is why you should consider hiring an experienced estate planning attorney who can guide and assist you.
What Is An Estate Planning Consult?
An estate planning consult is a meeting where you and the prospective estate planning attorney can meet and discuss your estate planning goals. Not only is an estate planning consult the perfect time to learn about estate plans, but it is also a time where your attorney will gather information.
What Questions Should You Ask An Estate Planning Attorney During A Consult?
During an estate planning consult, you’re encouraged to ask questions. These questions can be centered around how the estate plan process works, or they can be questions that will help you get to know the attorney better.
To learn more about your prospective estate planning attorney you could ask:
- How long has the firm been established?: Finding an attorney who has assisted countless clients in establishing comprehensive estate plans is an important first step in the estate planning process. Appleby Healy has been serving the Ozark, MO community for over 90 years!
- Do you have a maintenance program for your estate planning clients?: It is important for estate plans to be periodically updated. Having an attorney that offers a review service is essential. It is also intelligent to invest in a safekeeping service. Appleby Healy Law Firm offers a document safekeeping and maintenance program to estate plan clients. The cost of membership is low, and your first year of membership is free!
What Questions Will Your Estate Planning Attorney Ask During A Consult?
For an attorney to properly create your estate plan, they will need to know quite a bit about you. There are two main ways they can learn about you: they can either ask you questions face to face, or they can ask you to fill out an estate planning questionnaire.
Every attorney has a different preference for how they would like to collect information. Some attorneys may have an estate planning questionnaire that they will ask you to fill out before coming in for a consultation, while some attorneys may ask you those questions during your consultation.
No matter how information is collected, there are a few topics that attorneys will cover during your estate planning consultation, including:
- They will ask about your family members: It is important for an attorney to ask about your dependents, your spouse, and all others who will benefit from your estate plan.
- They will ask about your assets: The attorney will ask you about your assets, both tangible and intangible. For the attorney to provide you with the best possible will, they will need a comprehensive overview of your assets.
- They will ask about your estate planning goals: Attorneys will ask you about your estate planning goals. Think about what you would like to accomplish with the help of your estate plan and discuss that with the attorney.
Every attorney asks slightly different questions, so don’t hesitate to call their offices before your consultation so you can be prepared. If you would like more information regarding your estate planning consultation with Attorney David Healy or Attorney David Appleby, please call our offices. We are always happy to provide additional information.
Let Appleby Healy Attorneys Plan Your Estate
You don’t need to keep Googling “estate planning attorney near me.” Appleby Healy Attorneys at Law not only offer estate planning services, but we are also conveniently located directly on the historic square in Ozark, Missouri. We have served the Springfield, Missouri metro area since 1924, and have become some of the most trusted attorneys in Ozark, MO. Our estate planning attorneys even offer free consultations, so you can meet them and ask questions before starting the estate planning process. To schedule your estate planning consultation, contact us online or call us at 417-581-2411.