4 Insider Tips From an Estate Planning Attorney

Proper planning includes involving the right people. Here’s why an attorney is a vital partner in your estate planning process.

1. I already have a will or trust, so I’m all set, right?

Not necessarily. Unlike antiques and wine, a will or trust doesn’t improve with age. Many things in your life might have changed since you first created your will or trust—a divorce or remarriage, a new child or grandchild, revised tax laws, a move to another state or valuable new assets.

Your Attorney’s Role
An estate planning attorney can help you determine if it’s time to breathe new life into your outdated will or trust and can make recommendations for updating it based on your current circumstances.

2. The internet can help me write my will or trust for free. Why should I pay for the services of an estate planning attorney?

Do-it-yourself will or trust kits may be widely available online, but there are no safeguards to ensure that they’re accurate and that the generated documents are implemented correctly. There’s more to writing a will or trust than just filling in the blanks.

Your Attorney’s Role
A qualified estate planning attorney can help you protect your assets, minimize taxes and find the best ways to provide for your loved ones and the organizations that you support, such as Stanford University School of Medicine or Stanford Health Care.

3. I just finished writing and updating my will or trust. Planning done?

Not so fast. Your will or trust doesn’t cover everything in your estate. The beneficiary designation forms for your retirement plan and life insurance policies dictate who will receive these assets. Keep your beneficiaries up to date so that your assets end up with your intended recipients.

Your Attorney’s Role
As part of the estate planning process, your attorney will review these accounts to ensure that they coordinate with your overall plans.

4. The School of Medicine or Stanford Health Care is important to me. How can I continue to support this work after my lifetime?

Including the School of Medicine or Stanford Health Care in your plans is a thoughtful way to invest in the future of our mission. It’s also your opportunity to give voice to the values you live your life by.

Your Attorney’s Role
There are many ways to remember the School of Medicine or Stanford Health Care in your will or trust or other financial plans. Your attorney can help you find the gift that best meets your family’s needs and charitable goals. But please call us to help you determine how your bequest can be used to support Stanford Medicine.

We’re Here to Help

In addition to providing peace of mind, your will or trust and other financial plans provide a flexible way to support a cause that’s close to your heart. To learn how you can give a gift that changes lives at our organization, contact Carol Kersten or Blake Grossman at 650.723.6560 or pgmed@stanford.edu.

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