A lot of us like to make New Year’s resolutions – with a newly, clean calendar put out before us, the possibilities seem limitless! But that immense expanse of “what could be” might also be overpowering. So, when estate planning is on your New Year’s resolution list, here are some recommendations for beginning, no matter what you have or do not have in place now.
1. Without an Estate Plan in Place
If you don’t have a thorough estate plan in place, find solace in the fact that you aren’t alone. A recent poll showed that only forty percent of American adults have a will. If you are among the majority of individuals who don’t have a estate plan, begin by asking your financial advisor, CPA, or friends and relatives for a referral to a comprehensive credible attorney in your state in which is experienced in estate planning.
Take a look at the attorney’s online presence and LinkedIn profile, seeing what clients are saying about them. Get in contact with the attorney to discover how their process works and how you will be billed for the estate planning meetings. When getting ready for your first meeting, gather information about each of your assets – the kinds of assets, the way each asset is owned and how much each asset is valued at. This needs to include gathering statements for every account, and verifying any beneficiary namings in writing.
The above study discovered that a lot of people do not begin their estate planning because they believe it will take too long. Many clients that we work go from retaining us to implementing their base estate plan in around a month, so if you’re willing to concentrate and you hire an attorney that is dedicated to helping you progress, you should be able to finish this solution in the 1st quarter of the year!
2. Fairly New (1-2 years) Estate Plan in Place
If you have a fairly new estate plan in place and there is a trust of any sort, one of the main things you can do is verify whether your assets are suitably owned. If they aren’t, your plan might not work the way that you and your estate planning attorney had wanted – possibly leading to an involved court procedure and a lot of excess management costs and estate taxes.
Begin by verifying how each of your assets is truly owned – get a copies of the deed of any real estate, a statement for every account, written verification of the owner and beneficiary designated for any life insurance policy and the beneficiary designated for any retirement accounts. If you own a business, pull the corporate documentation, as well as any Shareholder or Operating Agreements.
Once you find out how assets are presently owned, compare that to the ownership suggestion your estate planning attorney provided you following you creating your trust or trusts. This might be a good time to meet with your investment advisor and get in touch with your estate planning attorney. Together with your team of professionals, devise a plan for brining your existing position in line with their suggestions, and execute it over the next couple of months.
3. Older (3+ years) Estate Plan in Place
Begin by reviewing the fairly new estate plan, to be sure, if you do have a trust, all of your assets are in your ownership as recommended. In practical terms, this should turn into a routine part of your occasional reviews with your financial advisors, and you should address and verify asset ownership every year.
After that, go over your estate planning documents to be sure that the individuals you have appointed in vital roles (the “fiduciaries”), like Personal Representative(s), Guardian(s), Trustee(s), and Agent(s) that are under your Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy, are still the suitable people to occupy those roles. It is often a moderately straightforward matter to modify these in your estate planning documentation, so be sure to get in touch with your estate planning attorney if you believe a modification is needed. Then examine who receives your assets upon your passing, and how and when they get them, and establish whether these preparations still seem sensible. If your estate planning attorney created a synopsis or a flowchart of your estate plan, these documents can be extremely useful throughout your review.
If your estate planning attorney has a blog, be sure to subscribe to it or, if they write posts on LinkedIn, make sure you have a connection there and are following their posts. Your estate planning attorney will most likely be writing posts about any law changes.
If this post leaves you troubled about your estate plan, reach out to your estate planning attorney to set up a time to go over your plan and determine whether changes should be made to it. If you feel assured that your plan is still adequate for you, your 2021 objective can be to devise a file listing the present contact information for all of your family members, all of your present assets and the way they are owned, and any other important details that you would want family members to have in the event of your death or incapacitation.
Regardless of where you are beginning this January, you can take some simple steps during 2021 to reach your resolution and be aware that your family will be well taken care of if anything should happen to you.
New Year’s Resolutions for your Estate Plan. (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2020, from https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/new-year-s-resolutions-for-your-estate-88721/
Arizona Family Law
Naming guardians in your will can be part of your estate plan. You may think you’re too young or don’t have enough money to justify the expense, but if you have children, you have priceless assets. There are many considerations when naming guardians for your kids. However, the process doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.
There’s nothing better than the peace of mind you will have knowing you’ve protected your family at a time when they need it most. Let us help. Schedule a consultation or contact Ogborne Law, PLC of Arizona today.
Engaging with an attorney to protect your family is never an easy step. Whether you need to protect your family from the unthinkable or restructure your family through collaborative divorce, we’re here to help. When you’re ready to schedule a consultation with Michelle Ogborne, please visit the scheduling page to get started.