MAKING AND KEEPING YOUR ESTATE PLAN UP TO DATE
As part of your overall financial plan, a current up-to-date estate plan is key to your legacy wealth transfer. With proper planning, your ultimate wishes can be executed according to your direction. Without a power of attorney or health care directive, a permanent or temporary incapacity could cause you to end up under court supervision of your finances and personal needs, with severely limited choices about investing and making decisions about your health care and even where you live. Without a Will, the state decides who gets your property - and there is only one plan, and it is the same for everyone.
Clear Investment Research, LLC (CiR) can assist you in the financial planning aspects of your Estate Plan. Of course, legal documents are needed to implement your Estate Plan. CiR does not practice law. You will need to seek legal advice from a competent estate attorney. If you are working with an estate attorney, CiR will work in tandem with your attorney and other professionals so that your wishes can be executed. If you need an estate attorney, CiR can offer some recommendations.
Let’s review what legal documents needed and how they will be used in your estate plan:
Three documents everyone should have
Financial Power of Attorney, appointing an agent to help with your financial matters if you are temporarily or permanently disabled.
Advance Directive for Health Care, appointing an agent to manage your health care and talk with your doctor if you are not able to speak for yourself.
Last Will and Testament, appointing an agent to manage and settle your estate, and to make sure that everything you have worked your entire life to achieve ends up where you want it to be, doing what you want it to do.
Your estate planning documents are more than five (5) years old
Tax law has changed, and you may have complicated tax avoidance strategies in your plan that you don’t need anymore, and if so, they will add expense and complication to managing your estate for years to come.
Has your financial situation changed? More wealth gives you more choices about what to do with it, and more options about how to do things.
Have there been any changes in your family? Marriages, divorces, birth or adoption of children or grandchildren, the kids have grown up, or someone has passed away or no longer needs assistance from you.
Have your family’s needs changed? Is putting your kids through college ahead of you or behind you? Is your spouse more financially secure now? Are you more involved with the care of your aging parents? Do you need to reallocate and redirect your resources to meet different needs?
You started, bought, or sold a business
Is there a succession plan? What happens if something happens to you? What happens to the stream of income that supports your family? What happens to the business, your employees, and their families?
Is there an exit plan? How do you get out of this business if you decide you want out? How do you retire?
How do you protect the earnings you’ve taken off the table from being misused or wasted if you should die or become incapacitated and can’t manage your wealth?
You have children (0 - 30 years old)
You need to choose a Guardian for any children under the age of 18 in case something happens to you and your spouse.
You also need a Trust that will provide financially for your children all the way through college and protect the assets until they are mature enough to manage them. Studies show that when children under 30 inherit money - no matter how much - it is gone in 18 months. A Trust will also help your children learn good lessons about managing money.
Someone is disabled, dependent on or may become dependent on government assistance
Qualifying for benefits is based on the income and resources of the person in need, and the limits are extremely low.
An inheritance can cause disqualification.
Improper transfers of assets can cause disqualification.
There are things you can do to provide financial assistance, protect assets, and still have the person in need meet the requirements to qualify.
This message is for general information and educational purposes only. It is not presented as a source of legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult an estate attorney, or ask us for a referral.