The Key to Successful Estate Planning

What…? I have homework?!

You work hard for what you have. You provide for your family and do all you can to protect your family and assets. While “getting your affairs in order” is an important first step, however, as important or more important is the second step — doing the homework associated with your estate plan. This is necessary for your documents to work as you intended.

For instance, if you have a will that leaves assets in a creditor protected trust for your spouse, but all your accounts are joint, those assets will simply “flop” over to your spouse rather than be probated and protected in the trust. For this reason, it is important and necessary to separate accounts and titles.
Another instance where homework is important is if you are using a trust now. Assets and insurance need to be titled in the name of your trust. It is also especially helpful if your CPA is made aware of your trust as well.

In our firm, we provide “homework letters” to our clients that outline the work necessary to support the estate plan that has been put in place. By not doing the homework, it undermines the value, benefits and protection your plan provides. By doing the homework associated with your estate plan, you are able to get the value out of the plan you have worked so hard to put in place.

In most cases, documents do not need to be updated regularly, but looking at them at least annually is wise. We suggest doing this around tax time just because it is easy to remember. Additionally, if there is a change in your health, finances or family, it is a great time to check back with our firm as well.

Too often people sign their documents and then forget about them. You have worked hard for what you have and given much thought to how you want to leave things. Please take time to ensure that the necessary homework and reviews associated with your plan are done so you can enjoy the benefits of your planning.

Written by ELTC Law Group

ELTC Law Group

We have been in business since 2007, helping the elderly and their families with a wide range of different issues including estate planning, asset preservation, long-term care, and post-death issues.