Even if you do not have an estate plan that you’ve created, the State has one for you. And it’s likely one you won’t like. It may be time for you to review the plan the State has for you and make more informed, empowered choices for your family.
If you have created an estate plan with a lawyer, or on your own, it may be time for a review and an update.
Estate planning is simply not something you do once, set it and forget it. In the same way your life, the law and your assets change, your estate plan must change as well.
Far too many people spend thousands of dollars on a plan, only to have it sit on a shelf getting stale, and then end up leaving their family with a huge mess they thought they had invested time and money to prevent.
Hector & Irene’s Story
While Hector was in his final semester of law school and Irene was still a nurse, they were raising two boys under the age of ten when Hector was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Fortunately, we were very involved and connected in health care and found a surgeon who could preform the necessary surgery to remove the tumor and gave us a week to get our affairs in order.
Since we didn’t have an estate plan and only had a short amount of time to make big decisions, we found a local lawyer who did a “rush case” estate plan with us. During that period of time, we put a lot of hope and faith into our lawyer and the plan he drafted for us. Little did we know the plan wouldn’t have worked when we needed it to.
Thankfully, we didn’t need to rely on a failed plan at that time, as the surgery was a success and nothing happened to either of us .But we were left with an expensive paper weight. The person we named as our Executor was in jail, the person we named as guardians of our boys is now a registered sex-offender, and it hadn’t been reviewed for 20 odd years, needless to say, a lot had changed. Let alone the attorney who drafted it, didn’t know Hector survived!
Don’t Estate Hope, Estate Plan
Don’t let this be the case for your family. Your family is worth more than that.
At bare minimum, your plan should be reviewed every three years. We do recommend that your Family Wealth Inventory (or listing of your assets) be updated annually. You may want to check to make sure you even have an asset inventory included with your plan. Most plans don’t have this included. This ensures that there is always a live list of your assets (bank accounts, investments, property, business, etc.) so they are covered and if anything were to happen to you, the people you named to take care of them when you can’t, can move quickly.
Unfortunately, most lawyers (and every do it yourself) system overlooks this and there are Billions of dollars in our State Departments of Unclaimed Property as a result. Not to mention, it’s particularly important to implement strategies as we get age that will protect our home and assets for Medicare eligibility and long-term care.
In addition to the minimum review every three years, your plan needs to also be reviewed in the event of any of these life changes:
- significant changes in the value of your estate;
- changes in your “income level or requirements,” such as retirement;
- an out of state move;
- job changes;
- changes to family situations, such as births, marriages, deaths, and major illnesses;
- changes to business interests;
- significant purchases or payoffs;
- major changes in insurance coverage; and
- the death or major illness of someone named as your executor, trustee, power of attorney, or child guardian.
As part of our standard service, we create a Family Wealth Inventory of your assets so nothing is lost to the State Department of Unclaimed Property when you become disabled or die. In addition, we review your plan at no additional charge every three years, and have membership program options to review your plan annually plus make changes to your plan at no additional cost to you. And, that’s just the beginning.
If it’s time to create or review your plan, contact us for a Legal Life Planning Session. You’ll get more financially and legally organized than you’ve ever been before and make informed, empowered decisions for yourself and your family. Because you and they are worth it. Give us a call at (833) 358 – 7878 or send us a message today.