The cost savings in a good estate plan can be tremendous.

A good estate plan can save you and your family:

  1. probate court costs and fees
  2. income taxes – perhaps in the form of more deferral on retirement assets
  3. federal estate taxes
  4. protect inheritances from creditors’ claims
  5. loss of family money in divorces
  6. wasteful spending
  7. control the ultimate distribution of assets

The greatest benefit of a good estate plan is the peace of mind you will have knowing that you have put these affairs in order.

How do you know if you have a good estate plan? Check your gut.

Do you have a sense that your documents should be reviewed? Do you feel as though maybe the way your assets are titled might not work properly with your legal papers?

Are you unsure if your beneficiary designations are most beneficial for your family? Are there any contingencies that have not been addressed?

Have things changed since you last got it done? Do you need to make sure your papers to address the prospect of long term care costs and planning to avoid total dissipation of assets?

If the answer to any of the above questions is “yes,” then your plan should be updated.

There is much at stake when you are creating your estate plan. There are many technicalities that need to be addressed. And you want to feel comfortable with who you are working with.

If you feel a little uncertain about how your affairs are arranged and your current documents, it is wise to sit down with an attorney and see what should be done for you to obtain maximum protection.

Mark F. Winn, J.D., Master of Laws (LL.M.) in estate planning, is a local asset protection, estate and elder law planning attorney.