Estate Planning – 7 Keys to Success – Start Right to Finish Right

Key 1: Start Right to Finish Right

You don’t want to start your estate plan on the wrong foot like Diane did.

Diane is a busy mother of twins. She wants her children to be protected should something happen to her. Her idea is that, “Planning an estate is just like cutting out cookies. Everyone gets the same estate plan.”

Diane’s mistake, unfortunately, is a common one.

Don’t learn the hard way.

The first key to effective estate planning is to start right – by learning that no single approach will meet everyone’s needs.

Why You Are Special

Everyone comes to the starting gate with different needs and assets.

That’s why estate planning is personal. It’s not like buying a carpet that will be fine for everyone’s living room (provided the walls are brown).

Estate planning is also an ongoing process.

You have a different plan when you’re 65 or older than when you’re 35 with young children.

Here’s a way to see this more clearly.

Answer These 3 Short Questions

1.    Are you:

•    Single
•    Married
•    Widowed
•    Getting married
•    Separating
•    Going through a divorce
•    Specify other__________________

2. What estate planning benefits do you want?

•    Comfort of spouse or adult children
•    Education of minor children
•    Care for a disabled spouse or handicapped adult child
•    Financial support of a local homeless shelter
•    Sale of business to your business partners
•    Support for the search for a cure
•    Protection for Eddy and Teddy, your Siamese cats
•    Securing your own needs in old age
•    Specify other__________________

3. Does your estate include:

•    A house or vacation home
•    A boat, car, or plane
•    Investments
•    Bank accounts
•    Retirement or pension funds
•    Life insurance
•    A business
•    Jewels, coins, or art
•    Specify other __________________

You have just begun identifying what makes your needs different from mine and everyone else’s.

Now you’re moving in the right direction.

How do you make sure you have met the needs of your spouse, children, friends, and community?

That’s the basic question of estate planning.

You can learn how to avoid the 7 costliest estate planning mistakes in my free ebook, Estate Planning: 7 Keys to Success.

If you need help choosing the right executor, take a look at my Executor Score Card inside Choosing Executors to help you decide.