An effective estate planning process requires a working relationship between you and your attorney. Once you decide to engage an attorney in estate planning services, it is important to remember that you have your own set of responsibilities to make sure that your plans go through properly.
The process of having your attorney put together your estate plan is only the beginning of your journey. If you do not understand your role in your estate administration and planning, then you could unknowingly undermine all of the work that your attorney has done. Be wary of your responsibilities and do your part to preserve your estate.
Keep Your Finances A Closed Book
An estate plan usually involves your personal assets and a significant amount of insurance to protect those you love. When you are dealing with an estate, you should keep your financial information to yourself and only share it with trusted advisers and your most immediate family members. You would be surprised at how many people suddenly want to be a part of your life the moment they hear that you have an estate of any kind.
Choose Your Professional Service Representatives Wisely
Obviously, you want to trust the attorney that handles your estate for you because that bond between you and your attorney is critical. But if you decide to take on a new accountant or financial adviser after your estate planning foundation is in place, you should be very careful who you choose.
An organized estate can be easy prey for the wrong people. Your attorney can only do so much to protect you from financial predators. If you do decide to change professional service representatives after your estate is in place, then be sure to check their backgrounds thoroughly.
Be Suspicious Of Emerging Relatives Or Friends
Unfortunately, the world is full of financial predators and nothing attracts these predators more than the idea of having an organized estate. You should do your best to keep your estate planning activities to yourself, but you should also be very suspicious of long lost family members or friends that suddenly want to re-appear into your life. You should also be suspicious of complete strangers who suddenly want to be your friend.
Keep Your Attorney Updated
If your situation has changed at all, then you need to keep your attorney updated. For example, if you remodeled your home and significantly increased its value, then that is something your estate planning attorney would need to know.
It is also extremely important to discuss your beneficiaries with your attorney at least once a year to make sure that you are protecting the right people. If you have a family member who suddenly needs constant medical attention or you yourself experience a medical setback, then you should contact your attorney immediately.
Good estate planning is not a one-way street. Your attorney has all of the administrative responsibility when it comes to your estate planning, but you have responsibilities as well. If you are unwilling to hold up your end of an estate planning process, then there is only so much your attorney can do to protect you and your family. If you are unable to maintain your estate properly, then that is something your attorney needs to know immediately.