Estate Planning Prep: 3 Factors To Consider

If you've kept up with our blog, you know that we spend a great deal of time talking about the importance of organizing your affairs so that all will transition smoothly to your heirs after you pass. Without a proper estate plan in order, your assets may be tied up in probate for months - or potentially even years - before they can be distributed to your heirs.

At O'Donnell Law Center, a significant portion of our practice is dedicated to helping our clients with their estate planning needs. If you are preparing to begin the estate planning process, our Lake of the Ozarks estate planning attorney is here to help. Here are a few factors we advise you to consider before preparing your estate plan.

1. Who Shall Receive Guardianship Of Your Children?

If you have children, this is the most important - and possibly the most challenging - decision you will have to make during the estate planning process. It is essential that you nominate someone to care of your children in the event that something unexpected should happen to you.

While there may be someone in your life who could be an obvious choice, you may also find that the decision can be far from easy. We have written an entire blog post on nominating a guardian for your children (you can view it here). For the purposes of this blog, however, we shall simply encourage you to think through the decision carefully so that you can select the individual you believe will be best able to care for your children's needs.

2. How Complicated Will Your Estate Plan Be?

The more assets you possess and the greater their financial value, the more complex your estate plan may be. Your estate planning needs may be further complicated if you have been married multiple times, own a business, or have children from other relationships.

If your assets and affairs are relatively straightforward, a simple will, coupled with non-probate transfers, may be all you need. If your assets have significant value or if your familial needs are complicated, however, you may need to work with an attorney to build an estate plan that will best serve your specific situation.

3. Whom Do You Wish To Inherit Your Assets?

This is an obvious component of the estate planning process, but one that deserves careful consideration. You may choose anyone you wish to inherit your assets - children, grandchildren, siblings, friends, parents, charity etc. You may choose one person to inherit your home, another person to inherit your business, another person to inherit your investment accounts, and so on. Many people choose to divide their assets so that they are distributed equally to their surviving heirs. Depending on the age of their children, some people choose to establish revocable living trusts that allow them to dictate at what age their children have access to the assets.

Ultimately, it is entirely up to you how you wish to pass your assets to your surviving family and friends. We encourage you to begin this decision-making process prior to working with an attorney to build an estate plan, however; finalizing these decisions ahead of time will greatly streamline the planning process.

Contact O'Donnell Law Center To Build Your Estate Plan

We encourage you to work with an attorney to build an estate plan that will best meet your needs. Even if you anticipate your estate plan to be simple, it may still be wise to consult with an attorney. Although do-it-yourself programs are available online, these basic programs cannot possibly account for the unique nuances of your specific needs.  Working with an attorney will be the best way to ensure that your estate plan meets your needs and wishes.

If you are looking for a Lake of the Ozarks estate planning attorney, we hope you will consider scheduling a consultation with Deirdre O'Donnell of O'Donnell Law Center. Since estate planning is a prominent focus within our practice, we have a great deal of experience with a variety of estate planning structures. We would be honored to put our knowledge and expertise to work for you.

For more information about how we may be able to assist you, visit us at or call 573-552-0317 to book your private consultation.

We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.

Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065


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