Luxury real estate agent Mary Myers frequently finds success by using a dynamic approach to selling or buying a house, and custom-designing the strategy with clients’ interests at the helm. By including local professionals in related fields, Myers’ clients have the benefit of a Network of trusted resources in addition to Myers’ own experience and expertise.
When it comes to real estate and estate planning, don’t take a backseat.
San Diego lawyer John Reynard is a mainstay in Myers referral network, and works with her clients to apply a similarly comprehensive strategy to estate planning. With Myers and her trusted professionals on your team, you can plan for the present while helping to secure the future. After you choose a team that will learn and cater to your unique needs and interests, you are ready to take the first steps:
- Preparing for your consultation
- Clearly communicating your goals
- How long does the process take?
Time To Get Your Ducks In A Row
Once you have decided that now is the time to begin planning your estate, the initial meeting to review your portfolio and discuss your goals typically takes 1-2 hours. During this time, your attorney will focus on making sure you are protecting both your medical directives and your assets with the four major estate planning documents:
- Health Care directive
- Power of attorney
While Reynard does not expect his clients to have these documents already in place, he does provide an outline of topics to consider in order to make best use of your time during your initial consultation.
Clear Communication: Decision-Making
Prior to your first meeting with an estate planner, you may want to think about who you would like to make important decisions for you when you are no longer able to make decisions yourself:
- If you become unable to make your own health care decisions, who would you name as your Agent?
- If you become unable to carry out your Trustee duties, who would you appoint to act as Successor Trustee?
- If you have children, who would you appoint as guardian in the event of your death or disability?
- In case of death, who would you appoint to act as Successor Trustee?
Choosing multiple guardians or successors – and ranking those choices – can help ensure your health and your estate are protected no matter the scenario. In addition, in many cases, your attorney may recommend choosing a trusted advisor or professional fiduciary to handle financial matters.
Clear Communication: Asset Distribution
When most people think of estate planning, taxes are often the first concern that comes to mind. But for most U.S. citizens, estate taxes are thing of the past. The current exemption is $5,450,000 per individual with a recent allowance for spouses to share their exemptions leaving a total of $10,900,000 for assets to pass tax free.
For most Americans, protecting and distributing your assets is often the most important decision. This process can be more complicated than simply having a will, and creating a comprehensive and strategic plan will help you avoid many common mistakes.
There are many ways to distribute your assets, and a carefully detailed plan can save your family time and money.
Considerations when planning asset distribution often begin with:
- Cash gifts
- Specific items (furniture, jewelry, etc.)
Afterward, the distribution of assets is often divided between beneficiaries within a trust. When creating the trust, you may want to consider:
- Who are your beneficiaries?
- What percentage should each beneficiary receive?
- Do you want to place an age restriction on when beneficiaries would receive assets?
- Do any beneficiaries require special needs or considerations?
- Should assets be distributed immediately or remain in the trust for added protection?
- If you are married, how do you want your assets distributed if your spouse passes away before you?
In addition, outlining unique family dynamics or conflicts for your estate planner can help ensure that your plans are carried out exactly as you like. Honest and open communication with your estate planner can prevent complex, costly, and time-consuming legal issues in the future.
Your Estate Planning Timeline
Once the initial considerations of your estate plan are decided, your attorney will help you to define the various components of your estate and carefully plan their distribution in a manner that can protect both you and your beneficiaries. After your initial consultation, it typically takes 1-2 weeks for the 4 major estate planning documents to be drafted. Then you will be ready to review the terms one final time before signing.
Since the process of creating a trust can take several weeks, the best estate planning is early estate planning.
The creation of a living trust typically takes 1-4 weeks, depending upon the complexity of your estate. In addition to transferring assets, many assets will need to be retitled, including properties, stocks, and investment accounts.
The Breakdown: Protection At Every State Of Life
Now that your major estate planning documents are in place, can you rest easy? While we hope this post was informative for you, it should not be considered legal advice. It is imperative to meet with an attorney to determine the best course of action for your unique estate. For the time being, check out the other articles from Mary Myers by exploring the links below:
- Estate Planning: How To Protect Your Home & Family
- When Is The Right Time To Consider Estate Planning?
- How To Choose The Right Estate Planner In San Diego
Watch Mary Myers and John Reynard
Is video more your style? Check out the video with Mary Myers and John Reynard as they discuss the importance of an including an attorney on your team.