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How Hard Is Doing an Estate Plan?

Estate planning is something that often sounds like it will be hard to deal with. After all, you're talking about a person's entire legacy in terms of finances and assets. You might want to know how hard an estate planning attorney thinks it will be. Let's explore how hard or easy the process might be and why that may be the case.

Diversity of Assets

Much of the challenge of estate planning hinges on just how diversified your assets are. If you're trying to deal with stocks, bonds, annuities, insurance policies, and real estate, it's going to take some time. There may be outstanding taxes, such as property and capital gains taxes. You may also have to think creatively to break up certain assets and distribute the proceeds equitably if that's your goal.

The nature of each asset will also determine how hard it might be to transfer it. A bank account, for example, can usually be transferred with a simple payable-on-death benefit authorization. Conversely, transferring a house will be not unlike closing on it at a sale in terms of complexity.

Number of Beneficiaries

It is one thing to want particular people to benefit from your estate, but it's another to get assets and money to them. Your estate planning attorney will need contact information about every beneficiary. It's a good idea to also update this information about once a year. Understandingly, this problem will become burdensome as you expand the number of beneficiaries.


You'll almost certainly want to have an executor to ensure your will is followed. This means naming an executor who you can trust. Likewise, they need to be someone whose circumstances will allow them to thoroughly execute their duties.

It's a smart choice to name a successor for the executor. This is a person who can step in to be the executor if something happens to the original one, such as incapacity or unavailability. Otherwise, a court will likely appoint an administrator for the estate in the absence of a named executor or successor.

Previous Plans

Having plans in place may seem like a major step toward making things easier. That depends, however, on whether the existing plans need a major overhaul. If you're just adding to your estate planning efforts, you'll probably have an easy time. You may have a tougher time if an estate planning attorney needs to cancel, clarify, or deconflict existing terms in your will.

To prepare your estate, talk to an estate planning attorney in your area.