Estate Planning: How do I get started, what can I do myself?

Estate Planning: How do I get started, what can I do myself?

I got this question on my Facebook page, and I wasn’t entirely clear about whether the question was meant to be about business planning or estate planning, but it’s a great question either way, so in the last video, I answered this question about business planning, and in this video, I’m going to answer this as it relates to estate planning.

So, the question is: How do I get started? What can I do myself and what do I need a professional for?

Let’s discuss what the point of estate planning is, and how you can help yourself, versus when you should seek help from a lawyer.

1. Organization. The first general point of estate planning is to get organized about what you own and what you want to have happen to your assets, your children, and your own care if you die or are incapacitated. So, in this area, you can do some self-help by creating a list of assets, taking some notes on where you’d want assets to go, writing down names of people you would consider naming in various roles (guardian of kids, financial decision-maker, healthcare decision-maker), and making some notes about your healthcare wishes and concerns. 

2. Communication. The second point of estate planning is to make sure that your loved ones know all of your wishes about guardianship, asset distribution, and healthcare. So you can do some self-help here by talking with your spouse and other family members, talking with people you might choose as guardians and or financial decision-makers, and discussing your healthcare wishes.

3. Provide. The third point of estate planning is to provide for your family if you die or are incapacitated. Something you can do that is not free but doesn’t require a lawyer is to meet with a life insurance agent to get a good life insurance policy, so that your family has resources to care for them if you die. Disability insurance is a good idea too. If you have work policies, find out what exactly is covered. I find that oftentimes, these policies aren’t adequate to meet the client’s goals.

4. Protect. The fourth point of estate planning is to protect your family and assets – from a long, expensive probate or conservatorship process, from estate taxes, and from kids ending up with the wrong guardians. Truthfully, the only real way to do this is to work with an estate planning lawyer. But you can do a few self-help steps in the meantime, even if you can’t afford to work with a lawyer yet. I have a free report on my website that gives you 5 free things you can do right now to protect your family and assets if you die or are incapacitated. Click here to read my free report

To your family's health & prosperity.

P.S.  Want to get started on the most important planning you'll ever do for your family and business?  Give our office a call at (503) 235-5150 or email Candice@CandiceAistonLaw.com to get started.  You'll be glad you did.

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Candice N. Aiston is an Legal Planning Attorney for Estates + Businesses in the Portland, Oregon area. She helps people to prepare for a lifetime of security, prosperity, and guidance. If you would like to receive her free reports, please visit http://aistonlaw.com/. Follow her Facebook page for daily planning tips: https://www.facebook.com/aistonlaw/.

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