Estate planning is vital for people with vast wealth and those with less extensive wealth.
The best estate plan has clear details about what happens to your estate while alive and after you die. To maximize the effectiveness of your estate planning, you need to outline your goals before you call your lawyer.
These goals may include securing your estate plan, determining who gets control of your estate during your lifetime and minimizing taxes and administration costs.
Legal experts designed an estate planning questionnaire to help clients meet these and other goals. Here’s what it entails.
What are Estate Planning Questionnaires?
An estate planning questionnaire is a document that helps gather the information required to structure an estate plan that best accomplishes your goals.
It also helps collect details about an individual’s end of life. In other words, it gives the important people in your life essential information to put your house in order before you die and ensures that the estate and inheritance run smoothly after you’re gone.
If you need a questionnaire that ensures better estate planning, our law firm can give you a comprehensive one.
Estate Planning Questionnaire Sections
An estate planning questionnaire has two main sections:
- Personal information
- Assets and Liabilities
These sections have questions about family, professional advisors, existing documents, property interests, values, and liabilities. They are followed by questions about an individual’s planning wishes and the documents they need.
After sharing your personal information and details of your assets and liabilities, the following section focuses on the titling and the documents touching your estate. You need to assess your deeds, real estate tax documents, and a current balance sheet to provide accurate information about titling.
Whether your goal is to change your estate plan or to gather accurate end-of-life information, these documents come in handy:
- A durable power of attorney
- Business documents –such as articles of incorporation, bylaws, and partnership agreements
- Account statements detailing beneficiary designation –IRAs, brokerage accounts, life insurance records, etc.
- Incomplete land contracts
- Credit card accounts
- Frequent flier account information
- Tax returns for the last three years
Our elder law lawyers are available to give you more advice on the titling and required documents.
Wishes and Worries
This section outlines what you’d want to happen to your property and is governed by existing laws. The most pressing wishes center on these aspects:
1. Who You Would Want to Have Your property After End-of-Life
These could be children, a close or distant relative, friends, a spouse, or charity.
2. Properties You’d Like to Transfer While Alive
Sometimes people transfer property before death to transfer tax planning and eliminate federal estate taxes or have a loved one take over part of the business.
3. Whether You’ll Transfer Property With Restrictions or Not
For example, you may have a child you trust to run your business and the land it’s built on profitably. In this case, you’d leave the business to this child and share the land amongst all your children. This gives the trusted child and heir more leverage to keep the family business running.
4. Putting a Trust in Place
This aspect also comes with trust management questions –such as who will manage it and how your assets will stay in trust.
Planning for incapacitation entails appointing someone through a durable power of attorney for property and long-term healthcare. It also entails determining whether you’ll use a revocable trust to avoid situations where the individual abuses their rights.
6. Cash flow
How will you keep a steady cash flow for your personal use even after transferring the estate’s control?
The bottom line is to get as detailed as possible about what you want to happen to your estate. Our lawyers are happy to help if you’re stuck on what matters.
Why Should I Prepare an Estate Plan?
Preparing an estate plan helps you ensure your estate is handled how you want it during your lifetime and after death.
What Is a Probate?
Probate is a process of distributing your assets to beneficiaries after death that is supervised by the courts. You can avoid it by putting your property in trust or co-owning it.
How can I minimize my Estate taxes?
Two of the best ways to minimize your estate taxes are creating a trust to manage your assets and giving charitable gifts for a tax deduction.
Contact Us Today
Estate planning questionnaires help you build a strong foundation for your estate planning. The more details you can add, the better your chances of meeting your goals.
Answering questions such as whether to transfer your property before death can help discover ways to improve your estate and keep it running for generations after you die.
Your estate planning needs an expert legal team behind it to bring your goals to fruition. At Aramjoo Law Firm, we promise to offer you straightforward legal help with it. Contact us today.