Most people seem to think of estate planning as just one more task to check off life’s endless “to-do” list.
People can shop around and find a lawyer to create cookie cutter documents for them or they can create their own DIY plans using online documents. Then, they’ll typically put those documents into a drawer, mentally check estate planning off their to-do list, and forget about them.
The problem is, estate planning is more than just a one-and-done type of deal.
It will be worthless if the plan is not regularly updated when assets, family situations, and laws change. In fact, failing to update one’s estate plan can create problems that can leave a family worse off than if they’ve never created a plan.
Will Your Plan Work When Your Family Needs It?
We hear such heart breaking stories from our clients all the time. In fact, outside of not creating any plan, one of the most common planning mistakes we encounter is when we get called by the loved ones of someone who has become incapacitated or died with a plan that no longer works. Yet by that point, it’s too late, and the loved ones left behind are forced to deal with the aftermath.
We recommend you review your plan annually to ensure it’s up to date and immediately amend it following events like divorce, deaths, births, and inheritances. This is so important we’ve developed and implemented a system designed to ensure these updates are made for all of our clients. You don’t need to worry about whether you’ve overlooked anything as your family, the law, and your assets change over time.
Built-In Systems To Keep Your Plan Current
Our legal services are designed to make estate planning as streamlined and worry-free as possible for you and your family. We don’t just create legal documents and put the onus on you to ensure they stay updated and function as intended—we take care of that on our end.
For example, our built-in systems and processes were developed to prevent two of the biggest mistakes we see in estate planning. These mistakes include: 1) not keeping assets properly inventoried, so the family doesn’t know what their deceased loved one owned; and 2) not correctly titling assets held in a Trust.
Maintaining a regularly updated inventory of all your assets is one of the most vital parts of keeping your plan current. We’ll not only help you create a comprehensive asset inventory, but we’ll also make sure the list stays consistently updated throughout your lifetime.
Start creating an inventory of everything you own to ensure your loved ones know what you have, where it is, and how to access it if something happens to you. From there, meet with us to incorporate your inventory into a comprehensive set of planning strategies that we’ll keep updated throughout your lifetime.
To properly title assets held by a Trust, it’s not enough to list the assets you want to cover when you create a Trust. You have to transfer the legal title of certain assets—real estate, bank accounts, securities, brokerage accounts—to the Trust, known as “funding” the Trust, for them to be appropriately disbursed.
We’ll not only make sure your assets are properly titled when you initially create your Trust, we’ll also ensure that any new assets you acquire throughout your life are inventoried and properly funded to your Trust. This will keep your assets from being lost and prevent your family from being inadvertently forced into court because your plan was never fully completed.
For The Love Of Your Family
Our planning services go far beyond simply creating documents and then never seeing you again.
We’ll support you in creating a plan that keeps your family out of court and out of conflict in the event of your death or incapacity, and we’ll also ensure your plan is regularly updated to make sure that it works and is there for your family when you cannot be.
This article is a service of Davidek Law Firm, PLLC. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure that families and business owners make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for themselves and the people they love.