Wills and Estate PlansWills and estate plans play an important part in asset protection. Wondering whether you should get your estate planning done this year? Yes! It is always good to find inspiration, so look to people you know who already have their wills and estate plans in place. Whether it’s a friend, family member or co-worker, they will probably share similar qualities with other people who plan ahead. You can see and develop these 3 common characteristics of those who do their estate plans:

1. Folks with Wills and Estate Plans Pay Attention to Details

People who take time to put estate plans in place are served well by paying attention to detail. When you put a will and estate plan in place, the attorney will ask you to list all of your assets because they must be accounted for within the documents. This exercise forces you to take care of the details. If you forget some property, it won’t be accounted for in the estate plan. People without a will or estate plan in place don’t monitor their personal assets as closely. They are more likely to overlook assets and will not understand their true worth, or potential dangers from lawsuits, accidents, and illness that could cause them to lose their property.
Even if you think you don’t need a will or estate plan, you can pay attention to details. The key is just to start. Try listing your assets. Next, consider how to best protect each one. When you consider all the things that can happen, you will probably realize your need to take the next step and set up a will and estate plan, because you never know when a disaster might happen.

2. Folks with Wills and Estate Plans Know Their Stuff

People who have formed wills and estate plans do their own research and know that they need them and how to use them. They might have an attorney form the documents, but they don’t sign the paper work without looking it over. If you want control over your assets, you need to learn about how to do it. There are only so many tools in the attorney’s arsenal and it is important to understand those tools. You need to see how they are used and be prepared to maintain the tools. We have an attorney in our office who has been able overturn many wills and estate plans because they have not been properly maintained. If you have an estate plan or plan to get one read Protecting Your Financial Future to learn what you need and how to maintain it. Any asset protection, will and estate plans require maintenance. The overwhelming sense of security you will feel in understanding what’s happening with your estate will outweigh the effort it takes.

3. Folks with Wills and Estate Plans Think Long Term

Let’s face it, when the focus isn’t on immediate gratification, you make smarter decisions. Sure, it’s nice to take a dream vacation or drive a hot car, but how will they help your long-term financial goals? Those who think long term realize that everything they have could be taken in an instant. A lawsuit, illness or death can change everything. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever take a vacation or buy a car! It just means you have to put your wills and estate plans in place before you do other things. This will give you the protection you need to increase your estate without worry, and time to consider if you really even like the car or need the vacation.
If you know someone who you admire who has met some financial milestones, such as having saved $1 million for retirement or bought a car in cash, don’t be afraid to ask how they did it. Then ask them if their wills and estate plans are taken care of. You can bet they will have it done. People who have taken care of their wills and estate plans understand what to do to get financial freedom.

c Lee R. Phillips

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