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Vital questions to ask before planning your estate

Before you start planning your estate, it's important to understand the lay of the land. For example, what kinds of things do you want your estate plan to achieve, and how will you go about planning your estate to achieve them? Because most estate planners and will drafters don't know what they need or what options are available, estate planning attorneys are skilled at asking their clients the following questions:

What's the primary reason why you are creating an estate plan?

Do you want to create an estate plan because you're primarily worried about your minor children having a designated guardian? Or, do you want to have an estate plan because you want to make sure your assets are distributed to heirs?

Is your estate vulnerable to taxes?

Depending on the size and makeup of your estate, it's possible that it could be affected by estate taxes, generation-skipping transfer taxes, income taxes or gift taxes.

Do you have any joint assets?

It's important to understand the "titling" of your assets to be sure that you treat them appropriately in your estate plan. For example, if you have a jointly-owned business, you will want to consider the other joint owners of that business when deciding who will inherit your share.

When was the last time you reviewed your estate planning documents?

Many Tennessee residents already have a will in place. It's important to review your will and other estate planning documents on an annual basis.

An estate plan could be simple or complicated depending on your needs. However, asking the above questions is a great way to get your bearings during the preliminary phases of creating an estate plan and will to suit your needs.

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