Becoming an Estate Planning Client of Galligan & Manning
Understanding the Three P’s of Estate Planning
Starting your estate plan may seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Your estate plan or legacy is what you leave behind to your loved ones and to your community. It is more than money or possessions or property. It is who you are and how you wish to be remembered. Use the guide below to decide how who and what will be included in your legacy.
#1 – People
Identifying who are the Important People in your life is a good way to start you estate plan or legacy. Beginning with yourself, they also likely include your loved ones: your spouse if you are married, children and grandchildren if you have any, perhaps your parents, siblings or other relatives or friends. Beyond these, however, “Important People” also could include charities, special causes, colleges or universities, or places of worship to which you are committed. For some, “Important People” could even include pets. Spend some time thinking about the impact others have had on your life. Make a list and jot notes if you like. This is where the planning process truly begins.
#2 – Property
By Property our attorneys mean your assets in general. Make a list of the assets you own or control. At this point, you do not need to identify exact dollar values. Rather think through your assets in terms of their nature (cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.); their value in thousands of dollars; and your ownership interest: Do you own assets in your name only, in joint tenancy with someone else, or through a trust agreement or some other arrangement? Be sure to include often-overlooked assets like life insurance, business interests, and any inheritance you may expect to receive.
#3 – Plans
After identifying the Important People in your life and your Property, the next step is to consider the plans you would make for those people (including yourself) and that Property in the event of your own incapacity or death.
Who would you name to make decisions for you if you could no longer do so yourself? Would the same person handle your finances and your personal and health care decisions? Who would care for your minor children? How would you distribute your assets to your heirs? Would you prefer to spare your heirs the potential cost and hassles of the probate process? Would you like to minimize the impact of estate taxes … or maximize the impact of a charitable bequest? Is there someone in your family with special needs for whom you would like to provide? Is there someone who perhaps should not receive a great deal of (or any) money without some outside oversight? Read more about Making End of Life Decisions Part of your Estate Plan.
These are just a few of the issues to consider when approaching the planning process. They are much more important than the “treasure hunt” for legal documents at this stage.
When You Are Ready
When you are ready to discuss or start your estate plan with an attorney at Galligan & Manning, please call (713) 522-9220 or complete the Request a Complimentary Consultation form and we will give you a call to schedule.