One of the first steps youll take in the estate planning process is determining how much planning youll need to undertake. Two key components of your initial needs evaluation are an estate analysis and a settlement cost analysis.
The estate analysis includes an in-depth review of your present estate-settlement arrangements. This estate analysis will also disclose potential problems in your present plan and provide facts upon which to base decisions concerning alterations in your estate plan.
An estate settlement cost analysis summarizes the costs of various estate distribution arrangements. In estimating these costs, the analysis tests the effectiveness of any proposed estate plan arrangement by varying the estate arrangement, the inflation and date of distribution assumptions, as well as specific personal and charitable bequests.
Remember, estate planning is very complex. And while a simple will may adequately serve the estate planning needs of some people, you should meet with a qualified legal advisor to be sure you are developing a plan that is consistent with your objectives. In addition, be sure to recognize that estate planning is also an ongoing process that may require periodic review to ensure that plans are in concert with your changing goals. Because estate planning often entails many facets of your personal finances, it often involves the coordinated efforts of qualified legal, tax, insurance, and financial professionals.