You may have trusted professionals with whom you currently work. They may include a CPA, Financial Planner, Stock Broker, and/or Insurance Agents. They know you and the details of your life. They are an integral part of planning for your future needs. Consulting with one or more of them helps to finalize a plan that accounts for your existing professional plans while ensuring that your chosen team is working together for the best results that meet your needs.
Estate Planning fundamentally involves planning for the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHY and HOWs of running your affairs while you are not able to run them and after you have died. It requires planning when you want to have some say in that process,which most of us do.
A Foundational Plan will most likely include:
- Revocable Living Trust
Ancillary Documents to support the trust based plan:
- Certificate of Trust
- Will (with Guardianship Provisions if you have minor children)
- Personal Property Memorandum
- HIPAA Authorization
- Medical Power of Attorney
- Mental Healthcare Power of Attorney
- Living Will
- Durable General Power of Attorney
- Funeral, Burial and Memorial Instructions
- Assignment of Personal Property
- Deeds for real estate transfers
- Docubank enrollment
- Funding Instructions
The simple answer is: to keep your life less stressful for yourself and your loved ones.
An revocable trust allows the trustee of the trust to control all the assets that are in the trust, without court involvement. That saves time and money when affairs need to be handled smoothly and with the least amount of hassle. Trusts are fluid and can make your life less chaotic when life-changing transitions are occurring. The benefits include:
- You can revoke it.
- You control your affairs through it.
- You can keep your affairs private when you die.
- You define what determines your incapacity and who is involved in that process.
- You decide to whom you give power and over which things the power applies.
- You decide who gets your assets --when--and in what way.
- You decide if you wish to have prerequisites for receiving any of your assets.
- You can protect your assets from predators, creditors, and your beneficiary's own poor judgement.
- You can use strategies to save you estate tax, such as preserving the marital deduction exemption.
Ahead of the Curve Maintenance
Your estate plan is a snapshot of you, your family, your assets and the tax laws in effect at the time it was created. All of these change over time, and so should your plan. It is unreasonable to expect the simple will written when you were a newlywed to be effective now that you have a growing family, or now that you are divorced from your spouse, or now that you are retired and have an ever increasing swarm of grandchildren! Over the course of your lifetime, your estate plan will need check-ups, maintenance, tweaking, maybe even replacing.
Article(s) to review...
FORBES: "Rites of Passage" by Deborah L. Jacobs