This may seem like a silly question, but the answer is, “It depends.” When discussing your probate estate it only includes what will pass under your last will and testament. Assets owned jointly with rights of survivorship are not part of your probate estate, because they pass directly to the joint owner at your death, not under your will. In some cases this is an effective estate planning tool. Owning property jointly with another person can, in some situations, defeat the purpose of one’s will. For estate tax purposes your estate consists of all of your assets no matter how owned life insurance policy proceeds and death benefits payable by reason of your death.
Estate planning should consider assets that you may inherit from your family. It is very important that your attorney know exactly what you own, what you may inherit, what it is worth and how it is titled. Do not understate the value of your estate to your attorney, because doing so may cause him or her to recommend a plan that is not in your family’s best interest.
Bring a list of your assets to your first office conference to “jumpstart” the estate planning process. Also bring a copy of your current will, durable power of attorney, advanced health care directive and deeds.
A good way to make sure that your attorney is fully informed as to what your estate may consist of is to bring a list of your assets with you to your initial conference along with all of your current estate planning documents.
Sometimes it is difficult to recall what you own, how it is titled and whether you have a named beneficiary or not. For this reason we have created an intake form that will help you to organize your assets in a clear and concise manner. Completing this form and bringing it with you to your conference with one of our attorneys, will ensure that the advice that you receive will be tailored to your estate and your family’s needs.
If you would like to begin the estate planning process, please contact our office at 662-327-4211 to set up an appointment and request a copy of our intake form.