The fresh start that comes with the turn of the calendar is a good time to take simple steps to protect your family.
If you already have a living trust estate plan:
- Are your “Role Players” up to date and still the people you want in those roles – Guardians to raise your minor children, Successor Trustees to manage your assets if you become incapacitated or when you pass away to administer your living trust, and Health Care Agents to make health care decisions for you if you cannot?
- Is your trust Funded? Are your assets titled in your living trust? One of the main reasons you established your living trust was for your children to avoid the high cost and burden of probate. If you have refinanced since you set up your trust, your home may no longer be titled in your trust and will go through probate. Have you transferred title of your non-retirement plan investment accounts and bank accounts to your trust? If not those accounts may have to go through probate.
- Do you have enough Life Insurance? If you have young children, you should have at least a large term policy for you and for your spouse, and the beneficiary of the policies should be your living trust.
- Have you named the contingent beneficiaries of your Retirement Plans? You’ve probably named your spouse as primary beneficiary. But have you named your children as contingent beneficiaries? And if you have retirement plans of more than $200,000, you may want to use a Stand Alone Retirement Plan Trust to protect the funds for your children from divorce claims and lawsuits.
If you haven’t done your estate planning yet:
You should. And it is not nearly as difficult as you think. In most cases, our clients complete their living trust estate plan in two one hour meetings at a very reasonable fee. And our clients consistently thank us for making the process pleasant and easy.
Make 2016 the year you protect your family.