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NEWS RELEASE: Free Will Takes on New Meaning

James Doan - Thursday, October 13, 2011

Doan Law Firm Offers No-Cost Will with Bankruptcy

In recognition of National Estate Planning Awareness Week (October 17 – 23, 2011) Doan Law Firm is offering a no-cost will to all new bankruptcy clients. FREE WILL promotion terms can be found at www.doanlawfirm.com/freewillpromo.  Also, until the end of 2011, Doan Law Firm is offering 50% off all simple wills, making the most basic estate planning tool available to most everyone. 

According to NAEPC, the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils, estate planning is one of the most overlooked areas of personal financial management. It is estimated that over 120,000,000 Americans do not have up-to-date estate plans to protect themselves and their families in the event of sickness, accidents, or untimely death. The cost in wasted dollars and hours of emotional hardship each year is enormous. All of that can be minimized with proper advanced planning and action.

Estate planning is a very important component of everyone's financial plans, regardless of the size of the estate. It's the only way to control what happens to your assets when you become disabled or pass away.

You can't just talk about estate planning because verbal agreements aren't legal. With the help of an attorney, you need to put your wishes in writing and follow the proper formalities or your documents may not be accepted.

Below are a few tips on how to save time and get your estate planning house in order now and keep it there over your lifetime.

GATHER YOUR PERSONAL & FINANCIAL INFORMATION

List full names, addresses and Social Security numbers for you and your family members. List your assets & liabilities at current values. Gather retirement plans beneficiaries' statements. Identify how you hold title to each asset. Summarize your cash flow. Gather employment benefits statements, life insurance policies, deeds to real property, partnership and business agreements and the last two years of income tax returns. Include divorce papers, premarital agreements, existing estate plan documents & any other such documents. List any questions, concerns and ideas.

WRITE OUT YOUR PERSONAL GOALS

Identify beneficiaries who you want to inherit something from you when you die. Specify how much, what percentage or which specific assets go to each person or charity. Take note of the special needs of any beneficiary, such as a disability preventing work or an inability to manage money, and identify backup beneficiaries in case your first choices do not survive you.  If you don't have strong feelings about individuals, consider selecting a favorite charity or "cause" to be your primary or secondary beneficiary.

Identify guardians of the person to raise your minor children should both you and your spouse die or become incapacitated.  

Identify executor(s) and trustee(s) to carry out your wishes after death. You'll need an executor to administer your will, and if you have trusts, you need to name trustees to manage them.

MEET WITH AN ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY

Bring your notes and the information from above when you meet with an attorney. This could save considerable time. Discuss your overall goals and see how they can be met. Your needs may require a simple will, or perhaps a living trust and a durable power of attorney for asset management. Your attorney can help you decide upon what is best to suite your needs.  

AVOID THESE COMMON MISTAKES IN ESTATE PLANNING

ü  Lack of planning.

ü  Unorganized finances.

ü  Not having a will, trusts and durable powers of attorney or advanced health care directive.

ü  Having out-of-date estate plan documents.

ü  Not coordinating life insurance and retirement plan beneficiaries with estate plans.

ü  Not coordinating property title holdings with estate plans.

ü  Not having enough life insurance.

ü  Procrastination.

 

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Doan Law Firm is California’s largest family of attorneys and is dedicated to providing superior legal representation by exercising the highest standards of professionalism while achieving optimal results in resolving our clients' legal issues.  The firm has helped more than 30,000 people regain their financial footing. For more information, contact James P. Doan, Senior Partner at 949-334-5611.

 

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For additional information about Estate Planning, or to schedule an appointment to discuss your estate planning requirements, visit our website at http://www.doanlawfirm.com/estate-planning.html  or call us at 888-DOAN-LAW. That’s 888-362-6529
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