If the word ‘estate’ brings to mind mansions, private islands and offshore bank accounts, we’d like to encourage you to think about it a little differently.
Your estate is anything you own that will be passed down, paid off or otherwise disposed of upon your passing. An estate plan legally ensures your wishes are carried out. Having an estate plan can proactively avoid future problems for your family.
Considering Working With An Estate Planning Attorney
With so much at stake, it’s wise to get professional help with your estate plan. You may be smart and capable, however if your expertise is in a different area, you could risk making a big mistake.
Consider this possible example scenario:
John is a university professor who owns a primary residence, a vacation home and an antique car. He has earned a pension from the university system and has saved for many years in an IRA. John’s life insurance comes through his job, which he has held for 20 years. John is confident that his estate is in order.
When John passes, the family discovers that his former wife is still named as beneficiary of his life insurance policy. Her children from a prior marriage are still designated in his will to receive equal shares of his bank accounts and his children will inherit the vacation home because he never added his new wife of 2 years to the home’s title. In fact, his IRA beneficiary designations weren’t updated to name his current wife either. Although John was an educated and savvy individual, he did not know the questions to ask to make sure his estate was handled in accordance with his wishes.
While John’s example illustrates some problems that could occur without using an estate planning attorney, there are greater consequences if there are minor children involved. Even if someone has verbally agreed to provide guardianship — unless your decision is legally documented — the court may see things differently.
What can you do? Work with a professional to set up an estate plan. An experienced estate planning attorney can work with you to define your priorities and get everything down — accurately and in accordance with your wishes — in writing.
At Covenant Wealth Strategies, we partner with trusted estate planning attorneys to coordinate our clients' important documents. If you have questions or would like to discuss your own financial planning or investment strategy needs, we welcome you to Contact Us to set up time to discuss further.
Material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. Insurance products are offered through LPL or its licensed affiliates. Not Insured by FDIC/NCUA or any other government agency. Not bank/credit union guaranteed. May Lose Value. LPL Tracking #1-876054.