With summer finally here, many of us are planning our annual getaways to relax and escape the stresses of our daily lives. You plan your itinerary, make travel arrangements, and confirm the contents of your suitcase – Sunblock? Check. Beach novel? Check. But are you sure your estate plan is up to date and in line with your current goals and intentions?
Before leaving home, make sure your financial health and the future of your family is provided for. It’s as essential as finding a sitter for your pets and ensuring your front door is locked.
Establishing Your Estate Plan
If you have yet to set up an estate plan, don’t panic. Now is the perfect time to contact an experienced estate planning attorney who will sit down with you to get an appropriate plan started for the protection of your wealth and family.
Here are some considerations to start the process:
- Do you have a will?
If you do not already have a will in place, an estate planning attorney can assist you in creating an accurate and thorough will to clearly state your intentions.
- Have you thought about using a trust?
From guarding your assets against creditors to equally distributing your estate without having to worry about the status of individual assets, trusts have many significant benefits that can protect your family and wealth.
- Are your children protected?
An estate planning attorney can help you to designate a guardian and establish a plan of action for the care of minor children in the event you are no longer able to. An attorney can also assist you in selecting who will be managing a minor child’s inherited property and other assets if you were to pass away. These may or may not be the same person depending on your wishes.
- Do you carry life insurance?
Do you foresee leaving behind a substantial amount of debt or sizeable estate taxes, or if you have minor children, it may be to your benefit to consider a life insurance policy. The knowledge that your loved ones or other dependents will be provided for will give you peace of mind.
- Is your business secured?
If you’re a business owner, have you considered who will operate and manage your business in the event of your passing or incapacitation? Have you made arrangements for the potential succession of your business? What if you are co-owner of a business, do you have a buyout agreement in place? An estate planning attorney can help you with drafting a management succession plan as well.
Pour-Over Wills: An Advantageous Tool
Contemplating a trust-based estate plan? It is actually an ideal way to make certain all of your assets are distributed and preserved exactly as you intend. It can also assist your beneficiaries by avoiding the typically expensive and lengthy probate process, during which your estate must be coordinated and distributed through a probate court. But as you may already know – gathering, drafting, and organizing the necessary legal documents is complex and time-consuming.
If you require a complete estate plan before leaving on a vacation or trip but are not able to fully fund your trust, a pour-over will be a great help and is essential for any estate planning involving a trust.
Pour-over wills can stipulate the fact that not all assets have been fully funded into your trust and that they will be put there upon your passing. Essentially, the trust becomes the beneficiary of any remaining assets that you have not been able to transfer there. In a pinch, a pour-over will may serve as a stop-gap measure while your trust-based estate plan is being funded.
Trust, But Verify Your Estate Plan
Already have an estate plan created? That’s terrific! All the same, it becomes crucial to verify that any and all provisions stated within your estate plan work exactly as you intend.
Here are some questions to verify before heading out of town:
- Are your assets accurately documented?
Think about any important assets you may have left out or if there are any changes you have neglected to report.
- Are your designated beneficiaries up to date?
Simply put, are your assets or wealth going to be distributed to those you would like them to?
- When did you last review your selected fiduciaries?
Those named as the Successor Trustee, Personal Representative, or Agent under a Power of Attorney, etc. can have a difficult and time-consuming role. It is recommended that you periodically review your designations to be certain they are still the best choices to make decisions on your behalf.
Check Your Estate Plan Off Your List
Estate planning with the help of a trusted and reputable attorney is a key part of protecting your financial health and the legacy you would like to leave behind to your loved ones. As you make plans for your summer travels, don’t neglect your estate plan. We can assist you in getting a plan in place that will give you and your family the assurance you need. Call or contact us online today to plan for your tomorrow.