Most people don’t have an estate plan in place — period. That type of procrastination can cause a LOT of problems for the individual and their family. Costs. Delays. Unintended distributions. Other unintended results.
And for those who do have a plan in place, take a look to see if your documents are valid. It isn’t just a matter of who gets your assets upon death. It’s also a matter of who will take care of you if you need care, how your assets will be used for your care, and whether we can take special steps to preserve assets to go to your spouse and family following your death.
If you already have a plan in place, you are to be congratulated for doing so. Now you have to make sure that your plan will still work for you. Will your documents provide the intended result?
Families regularly rely upon legal documents for years only to find out later that the documents weren’t signed properly, that the documents don’t comply with the needs of an elderly or mentally incapacitated person, or that the documents were written under a prior estate tax law that has changed so much that the documents should have been changed as well. Don’t let this happen to you or your family.
It’s not uncommon for people in their 60s, 70s, or 80s to have lost one of their children, and maybe even a spouse. What about the share of your assets that was to go to that child? Do your documents clearly state your wishes as to whether it should go to the deceased child’s spouse, their children, or their siblings? I’ve had many clients who are shocked to learn what the result would be from their current documents.
Remember, it isn’t just about who gets your assets when you’re gone. It’s also about who will make decisions for you while you’re alive, how your assets will be used for your benefit while you’re living, and then how your assets will pass after your death. Do yourself and your family a huge favor by making sure that you have the right legal documents in place now, and that they accurately represent your wishes. Don’t wait!