A plan is, by definition, the action of deciding on and arranging in advance of something. When something is as important as making sure your family is taken care of, you need to do it when you have a clear mind to think it through properly. Things done at the last minute are always stressful and not fun for anyone involved. Don’t go spreading that negative energy!
Understanding how the law works when you pass away and then taking steps to ensure that your assets will pass smoothly to your loved ones is the best legacy to leave behind. Burying your head in the sand and not dealing with your estate is an awful thing to do to your loved ones.
But it is also important to remember that things change over the years. The laws change, your family dynamics change, and your assets change. Therefore, we do not recommend a “set it and forget it” attitude for getting your estate plan done. We recommend that you pull out your documents every year to make sure you remember what they say and do. If you can’t remember or don’t understand them, you should make a follow-up appointment with your attorney!
Common things that we see when administering a client’s estate is the forgotten “homework” that is to be done after executing your estate planning documents. Most of our estate planning clients execute a trust. In other blog articles, you can read about what a trust is, what it does, and why we recommend them (sign up here to receive email updates!). However, establishing a trust is only the first step. The second step is funding the trust.
Funding a trust means putting assets into it. If you work with our office, we typically recommend placing your home into trust. We do this by drafting a deed to the trust. We also recommend updating all beneficiary designations for your accounts. All retirement, life insurance, investment, etc., should be looked at when you execute your estate plan to make sure they work with the plan. Even if you work with a financial adviser who helps you with all of your forms. Make sure you review them every year – don’t leave it to someone else!
With estate planning, there is never a rush to get it done. But the ONLY certain thing in life is death. Why leave it to chance? And if you are anything like me, you will feel a sense of relief when you get to cross it off of your to-do list! Procrastination costs us energy as our body and mind hold the thought that we need to do something. The longer we “keep things in the back of our mind,” the more wasted energy we spend. If we tackle our undesirable tasks the more energy we will have for the fun things in life.
If you want to learn more about how the laws work around death and what you can do to make it as easy as possible, please contact our office at email@example.com or at 508.532.8689.
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209 West Central Street
Natick, MA 01760
Ladimer Law specializes in estate planning. We protect our clients, their heirs, and their assets by listening closely, knowing the law, and executing estate plans that fit and evolve.