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  • Northern Virginia Trusts & Estates

10 Steps to Getting Started on Your Estate Planning

Updated: May 22

Despite the fact that estate planning is a crucial step in creating a secure financial future, the majority of us put it off as long as possible, some equating the act of creating an estate plan with having a root canal. In reality, working with your Virginia estate planning attorney is not painful at all. You can either hide your head in the sand and hope for the best, or you can plan, and rest easy knowing your wishes will be carried out in the event you become incapacitated or you die.

When you choose to avoid thinking about estate planning, your beneficiaries can be hit with significant costs, it can take a longer time to probate your will, your true wishes may never be known, and those you love can suffer unnecessary problems and heartache. Many people still believe estate planning is only for the very rich, but anyone who has any assets at all—pretty much everybody—should have basic estate planning documents. If you are ready to begin estate planning, the following steps will help guide you through the process:

  1. Try to get past your long-held beliefs regarding estate planning. Many people see estate planning as a complex and morbid issue. When you over-complicate estate planning, it can keep you from tackling an issue that is not that complicated but is entirely necessary. Simply think about those you love and want to take care of, and the issue becomes much simpler.

  2.   Call some law firms and ask about the pricing and process. If you make an appointment, they should let you know what information you will need to bring. If they charge by the hour, take the time to learn what you can about estate planning before you meet with your estate planning attorney. This step will allow you to better understand what your attorney is telling you, know what questions to ask, and to spend less time—and therefore less money—in the attorney’s office.

  3.  Remember, that while some people attempt to create their estate planning documents on their own on a program or from a kit, it is important to know that one minor mistake or omission can have far-reaching complications. This is one instance where you really do need an experienced Virginia estate planning attorney to guide you through the process. Your estate planning attorney has a thorough understanding of the estate laws in your state as well as the technical expertise to draft the documents properly.

  4.  Revisit your estate plan at regular intervals so it will always reflect major life changes such as a marriage or divorce, or having a child.

Don’t leave such important issues regarding your estate planning documents to chance. Contact us today to get started!

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