Summer is an excellent time to make sure you have either created or updated your estate plan, especially if you are going on vacation and want to relax and know that you have everything in place in case there is an accident or emergency. Book your tickets, but call your attorney before you pack that suitcase!
It is important that your estate planning documents reflect your current life situation and support your long-term goals; here are four simple things you can do now to ensure you are in a better position to protect your family.
- Revocable Living Trust. The best way to protect your property and your beneficiaries is to create a revocable trust which provides for an efficient, less expensive, and less public distribution or maintenance of your assets for your children and other beneficiaries. A trust allows you to pass assets to beneficiaries outside of a will and outside of probate, while allowing you to continue to use and access the assets during your lifetime. Additionally, a Trust helps you avoid a windfall to your children and may provide some asset protection.
- Will. Everyone should at least have a basic will as part of an estate plan. If you have children, then make sure you have a will that includes a guardianship clause. This is an easy, inexpensive way to create peace of mind for you and your family, and to ensure that you – not the state – decide who would raise your children in the event of your absence.
- Living Will; Health Care Power of Attorney. These documents allow you to set forth your wishes for medical treatment should you become incapacitated. Additionally, you are able to select the individuals who could legally make decisions on your behalf. If you have already prepared a Living Will and/or named a Health Care representative in the past, now is a good time to make sure the documents are up to date, and that the person you have chosen is available and willing to play this important role.
- Beneficiary designations. Review your life insurance policies, 401(k) plans, and other retirement accounts and IRAs to ensure you have the proper beneficiary designations in place. This is especially important if you have ever switched jobs, gone through a divorce, or if an important person in your life has passed, because the person you designated in prior years may not be a good person to designate today.
For assistance with any legal matters related to your business or estate planning, contact Fournier Legal Services at email@example.com or 860.670.3535 now for a consultation and planning session.
Joseph E. Fournier is an Attorney and a CPA who has more than twenty years of experience in a variety of business legal matters, including start-ups and company formations, drafting shareholder and operating agreements, contracts, employment law, commercial litigation, tax planning and audit defense, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). He also handles estate planning matters, such as business succession planning, wills, trusts, and probate.