Ask Terry Questions Estate planning

Estate planning

By Terry Savage on November 28, 2018 | Wild Card

Where/how do I find a estate attorney that I can trust?

Terry Says

The website of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys is That’s the place to start.  But first search and read the articles on my website about estate planning.  You can save yourself a lot of time and energy by making some decisions even before you see an estate planning attorney.

You’ll want to make a list of all your assets and who should get them at your death.  Of course, you don’t need an attorney to pass on assets like an IRA, 40l(k) or life insurance. Each of those accounts should have a named beneficiary, and a successor beneficiary.  Just make sure you have named the correct beneficiary.

And you’ll need to know how your  other assets are currently titled.  If you make a Revocable Living Trust, you’ll need to re-title your home and other joint accounts in the name of the trust (there are no tax consequences and this is easy to do).

And YES, you DO want a Revocable Living Trust — so that your named successor can make decisions not only after your death, but if you are incapacitated.  And it will avoid the time-consuming and costly process of probate.

One more thing:  this is not a do-it-yourself process.  By the time they figure out there was a mistake, you won’t be around to fix it!



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