September 3, 2011
So, you’ve just finished your estate plan and you’ve got your binder safely tucked away. You feel confident now that if something happens to you everything is set up properly and your family will be secure.
Here’s why you could be sadly mistaken.
If your plan includes a trust, once it is set up there are several key things that need to be done. First, you need to make sure that all your assets are owned in the right way – bank accounts, investment (non-retirement) accounts, and real estate (real property) must be owned by your trust. This may take several steps to accomplish. Next check the beneficiary designations for your retirement accounts, college-savings accounts, annuities, and life insurance policies and update them accordingly. You will want to seek advice from your estate planning attorney about the best way to name beneficiaries (do you leave it to your trust or directly to your beneficiaries?) so that they coordinate with the rest of your plan. Far too often people fail to take these steps and the result of not doing this can be disastrous.
That is why here at the Chubb Law Firm we have a process that will guide you through everything you need to do once your estate plan is set up. We give you instructions and reminders to make sure that you get everything in order to ensure that your assets will go to the people you choose, in the way you choose.
Some people choose to have us do all the legwork. This means that we analyze how each of your assets is titled or designated and make sure that all the transfers are completed accurately. We prepare an asset spreadsheet confirming what you own and how it is currently held (or titled) and the current beneficiaries. Then we complete all of the paperwork necessary to transfer every asset and designate every beneficiary, which gives you the maximum protection possible.
Another failure in Gold River estate planning that sometimes happens to folks is that they fail to keep their designations and estate plans up to date. Life events such as birth, death, marriage and divorce, changes in wealth, and changes in the law, can mean that your estate plan and designations need to be changed. Be sure that you have all of these things reviewed at least every three years, or sooner if you experience one of these life changes, to make sure that your assets go to the people that you choose.
Problems caused by failure to update are not limited to assets passing in the wrong way or to the wrong people. You also need to ensure you have the right people in place to speak and act for you if incapacity strikes.
To avoid the failure to update scenarios, we contact our clients every three years to invite them to come in and review their plan. We offer this review at no charge and we find that it gives our clients great peace of mind knowing that we are watching out for them.
If you think that you are at risk for one of these failures, please stop reading this blog right now and call us (916) 241-9661 for a free Peace of Mind Planning Session. Your loved one’s financial future may be at risk.