Questions to ask during the estate planning process

Florida fans of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee may be aware that in the final years of his life, there was some controversy. For example, he reported that $1.4 million was stolen from his bank account to buy a condo. He also ran into a conflict with his daughter. Lee signed a document saying she had befriended men who wanted to defraud him, but then he took it back.

It is not yet clear what type of estate planning Lee did before his death, but the process can become more difficult as a person ages. People who make changes to the plan as they get older may have cognitive abilities called into question by other family members. For this reason, one thing a person may want to discuss with financial planners and an attorney when creating an estate plan is how a cognitive decline would be determined and what action would be taken.

There might be a number of other questions as well. These might include how assets should be organized, whether it is necessary to use a trust and how often beneficiary agreements and estate planning documents need to be reviewed. People may also want to consider whether to involve family members in the process.

While the person who is creating the estate plan has the final say about the shape it takes, discussing it with family members can be a good idea. This can help avoid any surprises in the plan and may lessen the likelihood that it will be challenged on the grounds of a cognitive decline or for other reasons. It is also usually best to talk to loved ones about taking on various roles in the estate plan. Being an executor or taking over medical decisions if the person is incapacitated can be positions of great responsibility.

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Rachel Rall, Attorney at Law, P.A.
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