It is important to recognize the evolving nature of an estate plan. Let’s say that you are a young couple who has just had your first child. At this point you definitely want to create an estate plan.
This plan will probably start with a last will that includes the choice of a guardian who would care for the child in the event of the death of both parents. You also must consider the financial end of things with regard to the child’s welfare. This can be addressed by taking out adequate life insurance and arranging for it to be captured by a testamentary trust for the benefit of the child.
Everyone should also execute advance health care directives such as a living will and a medical durable power of attorney.
Depending on your exact situation there may be other concerns to address in your initial estate plan.
This first consultation sets the stage for future interactions because estate planning is indeed an ongoing process. You may have future additions to the family, your financial situation could improve considerably, and there could be changes to laws that are relevant to your existing plan.
As life goes on adjustments to your estate plan are invariably going to be necessary.
At your initial consultation you are setting the stage for a long-term relationship with your attorney, so you should be forthcoming about your goals and attempt to develop a particular comfort level. As the years pass this relationship will strengthen, and in fact these relationships often extend to multiple generations.
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Ryan M. Denman and Dennis D. Duffy
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