Jill felt pretty satisfied about taking responsible steps to reduce her tax burden. But when she overheard her neighbor chatting about her own estate planning, Jill worried that she may have missed the boat on the bigger issues related to wealth protection. Her neighbor mentioned a “4-way plan to fortify her financial fortress”, suggested by her attorney. This got Jill thinking, hard. Did she need a more comprehensive estate plan?
Despite the importance of estate planning, many American adults have no estate plan to protect themselves, their assets, and their loved ones. Many others believe erroneously that a Will covers everything, or that estate planning is only for the wealthy.
If you already have an estate plan, ask your attorney to review it regularly to ensure it continues to serve your needs as intended. Every three to five years is reasonable, or every five to eight years if you’re a senior. Circumstances heralding the need for estate plan changes include marriage, divorce, death, birth, moving, changes to your assets, and changes to your health. As well, the law is subject to frequent change and some changes to the law can impact your estate plan.
Jill wondered, “What else can I do?” So she scheduled a visit to her attorney to get the answers, and asked about that 4-Way Financial Fortification Plan. Jill’s attorney suggested:
- Disability Insurance
- Long Term Care Insurance
- An Estate Plan
- A Trust
Other types of legal documents you may need, depending on your circumstances, include incapacity planning, medicaid planning, asset protection, business succession planning, LGBT planning, tax and probate avoidance, and even pet planning. Your own goals to reduce taxes v. protect your wealth play into the types of legal documents you’ll need to prepare.
Jill’s attorney explained, “Your estate plan is like a computer, with various software programs running simultaneously. Each program accomplishes a set goal, but if one gets out of whack, it could cause a system crash.”
Estate planning is complex. What you and your loved ones needed a few years ago may be quite different now. Take the time to follow Jill’s example, and schedule a visit to Quinn Estate and Elder Law where experienced Missouri estate planning attorney Brian Quinn will ensure you are protected, or your current estate plan is properly updated.